Four empty businesses could be demolished to make way for 26 new homes off Bath Street in what councillors say could be a shot in the arm to the neglected bottom of town.
The former Barnes Butchers – thought to have closed more than 30 years ago – is set to go, along with the former Derby Evening Telegraph offices, the Poplar Inn and the neighbouring former newsagents, to make way for a mix of flats and three retail units.
The housing development will stretch across a large area of wasteland owned by The Barnes Trust behind existing businesses, including the Post Office and Barclays Bank, if given the go-ahead by Erewash Borough Council.
Cllr John Frudd, Labour’s spokesman for regeneration in Ilkeston, welcomed the plan.
“The best way to consolidate a town centre is to bring people to live in it,” he said.
“I have been banging on for a long time about using empty properties for accommodation.
“I can’t see anything wrong with this – it’s definitely a positive thing for the town centre.”
But he said he had some reservations about the new retail units planned for the sites of the former pub and butchers.
“We don’t want anymore empty shops,” he added.
Kevin Slack, managing partner at Derby and Ilkeston-based Mabe Allen, which has submitted the application, said he has been planning it ‘for a few years’.
“We hope it will bring about rejuvenation of Bath Street in general, “ he said.
“We need to hear some positive news in Ilkeston.
“Hopefully this will bring some life into the bottom end of town.”