Owners of the craft workshops in Eastwood are staying positive about closures across the area, and have hit back at claims it will become a ‘ghost town’.
The Advertiser has recently reported on several closures planned in the town – the Lawrence Centre, the cash office, the health centre and possibly the market.
‘It’s more important than ever that we keep community spirit going’
But Sarah Taylor, who runs Firetop Mountain in the craft shop area, said despite what many people think, Eastwood town centre is in better shape than many of its neighbouring towns.
“I think Eastwood is holding its own compared to some of the towns I’ve visited lately. It’s doing better than Ilkeston and Heanor.”
“The town centre managers are working really hard.”
Ms Taylor said the closure of the DH Lawrence Centre could even be a positive thing for the craft workshops, as more might be made of the Lawrence Birthplace museum, which is at the end of their road.
“I have tried to be really positive. It’s really sad the Lawrence centre is going but I’m hoping the councils will work together to still make Lawrence a focus in the town.
“Hopefully they might make Lawrence’s Birthplace Museum a focus which would be great for us,” she said.
The community-spirited mum-of-one also said she hoped the Post Office in Nottingham Road would provide a ‘hub’ for the community when the town council move in.
“Now the council own it, I hope it will be a really good hub for the community. There will be a community room there and obviously the councillors will have a good presence which is great. I think they were hidden away a bit previously when they were in Mansfield Road.”
Ms Taylor, 39, recently hit back at town councillor Ken Woodhead, who said Eastwood would become a ‘ghost town’ due to the closures.
The business owner said councillors should be being more positive, rather than ‘reinforcing people’s fears’.
She said: “It was a very negative response to what was happening. There was a lot of disheartened people in Eastwood and he was reinforcing the fear that was in people.
“People should be coming up with solutions instead,” she said.
The mum-of-one has a vested interest in the state of the town as the owner of two businesses – Firetop Mountain and the Phoenix Cue Sports bar. But she also has a natural passion for keeping community spirit going.
She worked at Eastwood Comprehensive School as the community development manager for nine years.
“It’s in my interest but I am also very passionate about it,” she said.
“With funding being cut it’s more important than ever that we keep community spirit going.
“There’s a great community spirit in Eastwood. People always turn out to local events and support their town.”
She said it was now more important then ever that key players in Eastwood worked hard for the town.
“It’s imperative that the town council work together to come up with a serious plan to keep Eastwood active and keep the high street sustained.
“I think with all these things closing the key players for Eastwood need to be pooling their resources and making Eastwood work.”
Ms Taylor opened Firetop Mountain last October and said it soon became apparent to her and other craft shop owners in Scargill Walk and Mansfield Road that the area did not get promoted enough.
Alongside the other shop owners, she made it her mission to increase footfall to the craft shop area and promote Eastwood as a town.
And the group now hold an event every month to do just that.
Ms Taylor stood for council at this year’s elections but did not get voted in.