Free parking move is ‘token gesture’

Dyl and Co owner David Vipond and Blue Ice photography owner Marie Stevenson.
Dyl and Co owner David Vipond and Blue Ice photography owner Marie Stevenson.
Share this article

Free parking for shoppers has divided opinion between town centre traders and Erewash Borough Council.

Traders have called the scheme that sees shoppers able to park for free in any of Ilkeston’s council car parks 24 hours a day from Monday December 15, a ‘token gesture.’

Buta council spokesman has hit back at the criticism saying the move will boost footfall and have a positive impact on the town.

David Vipond, owner of Dyl and Co, told the Advertiser: “This scheme is too little, too late.

“ Most people will have finished their shopping by December 15.

“It’s just anotherslap in the face from the council.

“They made us all these promises earlier in the year and nothing has come of any of them.”

Richard Camm, of Urban Air BMX, Bath Street, added: “Run the scheme from December 1, no one can argue with that. Perfect.

“But ten days before Christmas will make little difference to us or shoppers.

“We need free parking full stop, not just for a few days at Christmas time.”

Hitting back at the claims, an Erewash Borough Council spokesman said: “We have never done anything like this before, it is a first for the borough and if you look at neighbouring authorities there are no similar schemes.

“This scheme is just one of the ways we are working to regenerate Ilkeston, there is the Golden Hello grants, cash to rejuvenate shop fronts and other projects.

“I think it is also important to say that businesses have to paly their part in attracting people into the town centre.”

Sandra Lee, owner of gift shop Harpur and Finch, thinks the scheme will be beneficial.

She explained: “I opened on Sunday this week and it was busier than Saturday and I’m convinced that’s because it’s free parking.

“I fully expect to see more people in the shop when the charges don’t apply next week.”

Tell us what you think about the scheme. Do you agree witht he traders or do you think the council is doing enough? Email or tweet @IlkestonTiser.