Response to hitlist is ‘disappointing’

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Traders say that local politicians ‘should be ashamed’ after a lack of response to a ‘hitlist’ of 12 points about improving Ilkeston town centre.

The Ilkeston Independent Traders, which formed last month, emailled 17 Ilkeston and West Hallam councillors and MPs Jessica Lee and Pauline Latham, asking for their views.

But they received replies from just four councillors – Erewash Borough Council leader Cllr Chris Corbett, Labour leader Cllr Alex Phillips, Cllrs Mary Hopkinson, and Frank Phillips.

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham has promised to reply ‘as quickly as possible’.

Acknowledgments were received from three councillors – Louis Booth, Carol Hart and David Stephenson.

But Erewash MP Jessica Lee has not yet responded nor have 12 councillors.

Chairman of the traders group David Vipond said: “We feel that the local councillors should be ashamed of themselves and are out of touch with both retailers and the community or they do not care about the demise of Ilkeston high street.”

But the group was impressed with the council leader’s ‘positive’ and ‘proactive’ response, however.

“Chris Corbett gave a positive response to the email and will look into the possibility of funding and the practicalities of the ideas,” said Mr Vipond.

Labour’s Cllr Frank Phillips’s response did not go down well with the traders as he disagreed with their suggestions of a shuttle bus, disabled parking spaces along Bath Street and parking on Market Place.

Mr Vipond added: “He did not inform us if he would support any of the other suggestions.”

The traders are now hoping more Ilkeston businesses will join them: “We are growing all the time and the battle for our high street has only just begun,” added Mr Vipond.

Call 0115 930 0901 to ask about joining.