So, the final nail in Ilkeston’s high street strikes home with the news that the Co-op will close. I believe some councillors, past and present, should hang their heads in shame at this news.
Ilkeston does not remain a viable place to live, work or play and for normal, hard-working families to raise their young.
The rest of the town will die even faster without this last bastion of commerce in the town.
No doubt some will point their fingers at others and say it is their fault, they will blame Tesco, the internet and maybe even some witchcraft.
The internet, large retailers and out-of-town centres are the way of the world and we should adapt and change.
Over 25 years ago in this very paper, Ilkeston’s shops and members of the public pleaded for more parking space so shoppers could come to Ilkeston to use the shopping facilities.
But councillors, in my opinion, denied the requests and so if we can’t drive our cars to the shops we go elsewhere.
The Co-op even had to build its own car park as its pleas for more parking space failed. The Co-op alone could not save the town.
The public from other towns will not come for the last few remaining shops, at least they can park now as no-one wants to come to Ilkeston anymore. Victoria Centre in Nottingham and Westfield in Derby are calling.
For just an extra quid or two we can go shopping where it is warm , dry, there is no hill and there is a much greater choice.
Dear councillors, I believe that had you listened then maybe, just maybe, we would have had some form of shopping experience left. Other town centres managed it.
They developed new ideas and new strategies and haven’t only increased parking charges.
I am still not sure what the logic is when the decision is taken to put up parking charges.
It has clearly put people off shopping in the town.
So, what now for Ilkeston — a town with no shopping centre, a town where every day we queue to get in and we queue to get out, a town with no ideas?
Replacing the pedestrian crossings at the top of Stanton/Nottingham Road with walkovers would ease congestion considerably. I have doubts that councillors even know of the congestion, never mind are looking for solutions.
We will just become a commuter town where people live and move out of each day to go to work.
Because of a failure to attract large employers to the town, most of us have to travel each day to earn our living.
The latest housing proposal on the former Stanton Ironworks site should be dismissed, I feel, and employers attracted with incentives to provide jobs for the people who currently live in Ilkeston. We need jobs in the town.
Here is a prediction.
Endless discussions being had over attempts to squeeze in two extra parking spaces at the bottom of Bath Street will not save the town.
Longfield Lane, Ilkeston