I read with interest the events planned for Ilkeston Market Place in last week’s ‘Tiser (‘Events Galore For The Market Place’).
Unfortunately I cannot see these events attracting the footfall increase forecast by the planners.
I have been a stallholder on Ilkeston Market Place for 32 years, but it’s getting harder to survive. The town, like many others, is dying a slow death and more drastic measures than those planned are needed to resurrect it.
During my 49 years of market trading in many other towns, I have seen markets deteriorate and eventually close.
Locally compare Ripley, Heanor and Ashbourne — all once bustling and thriving market towns. What have they got now? Charity shops, takeaway food outlets and many boarded up shops with their residents having to shop out of town.
Can we save our towns? They will never return to their past glories, but with a little help from most councils we can certainly try. Some councils are trying and are implementing:
1. Free parking from midday onwards on market days (this prevents town workers from parking all day for free).
2, Encourage new traders by a three-week cheap rent if they sign up for a specific period.
3, Councils working with traders to fund advertising campaigns.
4, An insistence that traders trade for a full day (customers don’t want to come to an empty market at 2 pm).
The falling footfall in Ilkeston is now partly due to reports of the impending closure of the Co-op.
The full extent of this closure has been open to rumours and panic, leading to many regular visitors to Ilkeston making plans to shop elsewhere.
I believe that the food hall, post office, travel agency and Evans clothing will remain at least.
Surely now the residents of Ilkeston should be made aware of what they can get in town, not what they cannot.
Kedleston Road, Derby.