Plans for a new supermarket in Ilkeston could seriously damage the town centre, according to regeneration agency Erewash Partnership.
Chairman Ian Viles and market towns co-ordinator Paul Calladine urged the town’s businesses to let Erewash Borough Council know their opinions on the 65,000 sq ft store planned for the current Derby College site in Field Road.
Mr Viles believes that the many independent shops in South Street and businesses in the Nottiongham Road area are most at risk of losing business to the supermarket.
“This is the biggest development in and around Ilkeston town centre for many years,” he said.
“I think, as a town, we have got to take a judged, considered view of whether we think this is a good idea.
“My concern is that it will have a negative impact on the town.
“If I were a trader on South Street, I would be concerned.”
The college has asked for outline permission for the store, a petrol station and 360-space car park, creating a significant number of jobs.
It also plans to build 39 houses on the site and move the 400 students there to new premises at the former magistrates courts in New Lawn Road.
“We would welcome the jobs they are bringing but we are going to lose jobs elsewhere,” continued Mr Viles.
“And the prospect of some college activitiy moving to the edge of the town centre is a good thing.
“It birngs the site back into use and we will have 400 students using the town centre on a daily basis – that’s fantastic.
“But at what cost?”
Francesca Lobina, who has run Lobina’s in Nottingham Road for 34 years, said the plan will ‘kill off’ shops in the area.
“For such a small community to have so many supermarkets is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
“There are lots of old people in this area who rely on their corner shops – they don’t get the same service in the supermarkets.
“It would be much better as a DIY store, or something people actually need.”
Principal David Croll said he welcomed views of local businesses.
He said a mix of a supermarket and housing is ‘totally appropriate for a site of this size’ and the store ‘will create much-needed jobs’.
More than 1,000 staff and students based at the new campus will spend money in town centre and could help to ‘kick start the regeneration of the rest of the town centre with investment in a key site as has happened at our other sites in Derby.’
Mr Calladine also urged firms to have their say.
“All we are after is for retailers in town to take an interest in it – you have got two weeks before it will be too late.”
Call Erewash Borough Council on 0115 907 2244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about submitting a comment about the application.