State of deprivation

SHOCKING Government figures have revealed that part of Cotmanhay is one of the most deprived areas in the country.

The area known as Hopewell – the most northern part of Cotmanhay, containing the Hopewell Farm housing estate – was ranked in the bottom 2.4 per cent in England for deprivation, based on factors including health, income, crime and more.

This year was the third time Indices of Multiple of Deprivation have been published by the Government since 2004, and, although the area’s ranking has improved slightly on each occasion, it is still the 735th most deprived area in England out of a total of 34,000 communities.

Ward councillor for the area Jane Wilson said that jobs are the main problem.

“As local councillors in Ilkeston North both Cllr Bevan and myself are fully aware that we are in one of the most socially deprived areas in the country,” she said.

“We as a Labour Group have been working to redress this and have been campaigning for a new doctors’ surgery in the area, thus creating some new jobs and new skills. We have no businesses in Ilkeston North but we do have a very high volume of social housing.

“We need to attract employment to this area, instead of having factories closing down. We need to give the people of this area employment to empower themselves to improve their own lives.”

“This very serious problem needs to be tackled with help from Erewash Borough Council and the Government.

But Erewash Borough Council leapt to the defence of the area.

A spokesman said money it has invested in Action4Cotmanhay – a community-led venture to help the area – has helped to see increases in the number of young people going into further education, employment or training, a higher number of A to C grades at GCSE and a reduction in anti-social behaviour over the last four years.

A spokesman said work alongside police, Three Valleys housing and regeneration agency Erewash Partnership has made the area ‘a better place to live’.

Lead member for regeneration Cllr Carol Hart said: “Our aim is to work with these dedicated residents and partners, helping to deliver projects which address key areas of concern and benefit Cotmanhay people.

“We will continue to work with communities for opportunities to improve access to training, remove barriers to employment, leading to reduction in local unemployment; reduce crime, the fear of crime, improving the living environment; and encourage healthy and active lifestyles for all our residents.”

Of the 10 most deprived areas in Erewash, seven are in Ilkeston, including Upper Station Road and Cotmanhay Farm, and three are in Long Eaton.

Nearly all 10 of those areas have slipped down the rankings.

But Derbyshire county councillor Kevin Parkinson, responsible for regeneration in the county, said the future looks good for jobs in the north of Ilkeston with a planned apprentice scheme, which will give support to employers to take on an apprentice for the first time.

He added: “The county council has also been working hard to bring forward new development opportunities for the Shipley Lakeside site, the former American Adventure Theme Park. Many local people from Cotmanhay and Ilkeston North were employed here in the past and having now declared what we will and will not support on this site, we are look forward to our developer being able to bring forward plans that will regenerate Shipley Lakeside and provide a mix of employment opportunities alongside new leisure and recreational facilities.”

At the other end of the scale, areas such as Shipley Common and Manners – both less than two miles away from Hopewell – are in the top 94 and 97 per cent in England.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “The nature of this national research is all about ranking areas so there has to be two ends of the spectrum, but we take care not to use the rankings to label certain areas.

“The index indicates that some people within this area of Erewash suffer levels of deprivation on some of the national indicators – not that the whole area is deprived. Indeed some residents within the same area will not rank on deprivation indicators and the good news is there has been an improvement in the ranking over the past three years.

“Like all counties we face challenges in Derbyshire and use research to help us provide support where it is needed most. We find it useful in being able to identify in broad terms where we may wish to direct resources or to use as evidence, for example to attract in external funding.”

Crime is one of the factors which affects the results.

Insp Nick Daines at Ilkeston Police Station said: “We have got a strong Safer Neighbourhood Team in Cotmanhay which benefits from not one but two PCSOs and We have active community contacts which we keep in regular touch with.

“We run an analysis of crime trends for the whole of Ilkeston and when particular trends emerge we deploy additional resources to those areas. In particular around Cotmanhay, theft of garden furniture and hanging baskets have been a problem more recently and we do respond to those issues.

“But the bottom line is Cotmanhay is a densely populated area and there is inevitably more crime in areas where there are more people than in more rural areas.

“Does Cotmanhay have its social issues? Yes, but it’s not quite the doom and gloom these statistics present.”

What do you think? Send your comments to news@ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk or write to 8 Heanor Road, Ilkeston, DE7 8ER.