The national chairman of the Conservative Party, Grant Shapps MP, has spoken exclusively to the ‘Tiser about Ilkeston.
In an interview with reporter AMY HIRST he spoke about the train station, manorial rights, the state of our high streets and welfare reform.
Here is what he had to say....
“The Advertiser are local heroes for their efforts to bring a train station to Ilkeston.
“Alongside the hard work of Jessica Lee MP their campaign was the driving force behind getting a station for the town.
“A train station is obviously a massive boost for any town and the economy in Ilkeston will definitely benefit when it opens later this year.”
Speaking more in detail about benefits the station will bring, he said: “As well as encouraging people into the town, whether it be for work or pleasure, it will provide a boost for surrounding areas.
“Businesses will want to base themselves in the town and the local economy should reflect that.”
“Manorial rights have also affected a lot of my own constituents and frankly I understand the concerns of those who have received unilateral notices and are in the process of challenging hem.
“People can be assured this issue is not being ignored.
“These rights are ancient and in my eyes they should no longer apply, these things need looking at again.
“I think that for people and homeowners to buy a house it’s very alarming for them then to discover that someone else has rights on that property.
“A change of law would need an Act of Parliament and I have written to a couple of select committees on the subject in the hope of this issue being properly sorted.”
Advising residents on what to do if they have received a notice from the Land Registry he said: “Records are not the most reliable, they are so old that no one can be quite sure where they’ve come from.
“A closer look at some of them shows that the manorial rights don’t actually exist.
“It seems to me that it’s worth people looking into it.
“I don’t for one moment think that someone should be able to find out there is someone with rights over their land. It’s time something was done about it.”
“Councils have a big part to play when it comes to this as well as each and every one of us.
“I think the key to success is making sure that high streets offer a good variety of shops and a mixture of independent retailers and bigger names.
“The main thing is to offer things that can’t be found elsewhere, we all use the internet to shop for a whole host of things now, but you can’t have a hair cut online, or drink a cup of coffee in a coffee shop.
“Parking is the other big issue here. Charging can often be counter productive as although it brings in revenue it can also discourage people from using local businesses.
“Councils also have a responsibility in terms of business rates to make running a retail outlet is affordable and reasonable for tenants.”
“Any kind of welfare reform is always going to be difficult. Our main aim when we set out to change the system was so that people couldn’t earn more on benefits than they could in work.
“Working families should be making more money than those not in employment.
“People need to understand that it is not a straight forward area, there are lot of different factors for a lot of different people.”
The ’Tiser recently featured disabled dad Jonathan Collinge on its front page.
The 28-year-old is being forced to live on just £21 a week after he was assessed as being fit for work by Atos.
Mr Shapps vowed to contact Jessica Lee and find out more details of Mr Collinge’s case and assist however he can.
Asked for his thoughts on the case he said: “It’s difficult for me to comment on a specific case without knowing all of the details but from what I have been told it is clear that something isn’t right there.
“These are the situations that without a doubt need avoiding.
“The Government has now effectively fired Atos because they weren’t doing the job they were supposed to be doing.
“It sounds like a very extreme case and action needs taking.
“I hope and am sure that Jessica Lee is doing all she can to help this man.”