Knocking down the old Co-op building and replacing it with a new local landmark is the only way to attract new businesses and residents to the town, according to an Ilkeston building consultant.
Paul Gaughan told the Advertiser that the only way to secure a long-term investment on the site of the old department store is if it is demolished and a purpose-built property for retail and residential replaces it.
He said: “The Co-op is a massive building and most of it is in a serious state of disrepair.
“You only have to go in when it rains to see buckets everywhere catching rain water that has leaked through the roof, it is all on different levels, the windows all need replacing.
“Developing what is there at the minute would be a nightmare and someone would be mad to spend the money doing it.
“There are some nice parts of the original building that could be saved but this is a property that has been added to several times over the years and that really shows.
“I agree with people saying that apartments at the top and retail on the bottom floor would be the best options.
“But big retailers won’t rent old spaces, they want purpose built accommodation and that’s what demolishing the existing building and starting from scratch would allow you to do.”
Paul spoke to the Advertiser after we launched a campaign last week to ensure the building does not sit empty and become a blight on the town’s landscape.
Paul added that a new building could really help the town.
He said: “This is a chance to give Ilkeston a facelift and a new landmark.
“The Market Place could be revamped as part of the project and if it’s done right it could make a real difference to the town.
“I understand the historical element and that people are attached to the building but sometimes it is best to move on and start again.”
Advertiser editor, Martin Hutton, said: “We have received a lot of feedback about what you, our readers, want to see happen with the Co-op building.
“Paul’s ideas might be considered controversial by some of you but we want to hear everyone’s suggestions.
“It is up to the people of this town to have their say.”