Town centre deserves more

Sir,

The fact that Erewash Borough Council has demanded a clean-up from the owner of Ilkeston’s former Woolworth’s building is ‘too little, too late’.

A Town Team will bid for £100,000 ‘Portas’ regeneration money.

I hope it is successful – but if entering a competition which will contribute to the amazing regeneration through Mary Portas is the best the Tory Administration can do – then residents will feel short changed for their council tax.

For months, Labour has pinpointed the decline of Bath Street; the hellhole that is the Woolworths’ building and the vigour and bustle of neighbouring Labour Bulwell

We’ve said that the Ilkeston debacle is symbolic of the degeneration of the entire borough; we’ve demanded that the Tory council publish an Economic Development Strategy; we’ve asked the Tory MP to bang the drum for growth.

Instead, we’ve got a lame-duck council, relying on Portas to cover its own lack of direction – and the pigeons swept up from Woolworth’s only when residents, opposition politicians and animal welfare charities beat a noisy path to its doors and said: Enough is enough!

Ultimately, the health of local economies is dependent upon direction and leadership at Westminster.

There is none – but the Erewash MP hopes to dance the daffodil path to re-election, making comments about a budget that has provoked outrage from business and pensioners alike, that are entirely adrift from reality.

What ‘support for business and jobs’ does this Budget have Ms Lee?

What is the Government’s ‘planned support for infrastructure’?

Ilkeston is all ears – but by 2015 won’t be listening to you or your Government.

Labour has called for a new direction.

We have asked for the Tories at Erewash to establish an Economic Development Office with a dedicated Officer to plan strategy, advise and assist. Tory Leader, Cllr Corbett said he would consider this idea.

I say to him now. Do it Chris. Call Labour Leader, Howard Griffiths. Show that you meant what you said. Give a good meaning to ‘We’re all in it together.’ Do it for Erewash. Time is running out – but with political will, there is still time.

For Ilkeston and Erewash, the countdown has begun.

Helen Clark

Chair

Erewash Labour Local Government Committee