Confusion as event programme stalls

Ilkeston market.
Ilkeston market.

No events from an ambitious programme approved by Erewash Borough Council for Ilkeston town centre have taken place so far, leaving traders and shoppers ‘disgusted’.

A pot of £34,000 has been set aside for attractions designed to boost Ilkeston as part of a ’Tiser-backed initiative.

Go kart.

Go kart.

But things appear to be in limbo.

On Monday (August 19), crowds were expected to gather in the Market Place to watch a film on a giant outdoor screen – but nothing happened.

On July 22 and August 5, a farmers’ market or an antiques fair was supposed to come to town – but it never did.

On July 20, choirs were set to battle it out on a stage in front of the Town Hall – but not a note was sung.

And this coming Bank Holiday Monday would have been a fabulous end to the summer holidays as a soap-box derby raced its way up Bath Street –but you guessed it, that’s not going ahead either.

The Ilkeston Independent Traders formed earlier this year with the aim of presenting ideas to the council to boost the town centre – including staging high profile events in the Market Place.

Now chairman David Vipond has said the traders are ‘absolutely disgusted’ and the group has disbanded until further notice.

“It’s an absolute waste of time spending our free hours to get the council to do something with Ilkeston,” he said.

“The council should be ashamed. It promised positive action but, in my view, have delivered on nothing.”

The events were among a raft of improvements that leading councillors approved on June 19– including clearing out shop gutters Bath Street, which was due to take place on Wednesday (August 21).

Council leader Cllr Chris Corbett said: “At the time we expected them to go ahead but unfortunately, because things take longer to organise than they thought, it hasn’t been possible to start.”

Phillip Wright, director of operational services, said the list was only ‘a suggested outline of events’.

“The planning of events is quite complicated and involves a number of agencies, including the county council, the police and the fire service and it is not always possible to deliver events to strict timetables,” he said.

“Factors such as weather and availability of performers can also alter the arrangements. However, we can assure residents that many of these events are in the advanced stages and we will be able to confirm some of these in the near future.”

One event from the list is definitely going ahead, according to its organiser Ian Viles from Erewash Partnership.

A classic car rally will be held in the Market Place on Sunday September 15 for car enthusiasts across the UK and thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the town.

“It’s a chance to showcase the town and also provide something at the end of the summer for local people that they will really enjoy,” he explained