Letter: It is not too late to save our town

Would the last business to leave Bath Street, please turn off the lights.

I’m not the first to have said this, and certainly not the last.

Bath Street, Ilkeston

Bath Street, Ilkeston

Walking up Bath Street these days is a sobering experience. We all remember how it used to be, when we all choked on bus fumes whilst spending our pocket money in Gunn’s, standing bored silly while the parents got the telly sorted at Wigfall’s (secretly admiring the bikes in Halfords over the road), having to look at socks in Fords, nipping to Preedy’s for a comic, providing you’d survived the wobbly floor in Woolies, nipping into Reynolds records, if only to admire Kate behind the counter, then being dragged round the market, all in the vain hope of getting a posh cornet from Bamptons before getting a smoky 53 back home.

If you didn’t get the cornet, you probably got some sweets from the sweet stall on the market. You all know him, he’s been there forever!

But that has all gone now. Back then, Tesco sold bedding from where Specsavers now stands. These days, it is the retail centre of the town. Let’s face facts. Tesco is now the town centre.

Need proof? Check out the car park at the weekend. It’s always full. People who should be taking the kids to the Scala, or watching the Robins or the Elks are staggering around Tesco completely bored. It’s a fact that the big retailers like their big sheds. Old, clumsy shops like the Co-op building just don’t work for the big guys.

But it’s not too late for “Top a’ tahrn”. Here the rant begins!

Erewash Borough Council (EBC), pull your finger out. Your predecessors allowed this to happen. You now have the opportunity to sort it out.

The 30-minute free parking scheme has been a success Well done. It’s not good enough. It shows that you don’t know your people, in my view.

Ilson people are fantastic, but we will go elsewhere to save even 10p. So, EBC, you need to re-programme your parking machines to offer everyone one hour free parking as they do in Stabbo. It brings people into the town.

Secondly, business rates...... I know there are things dictated by central Government, but what is preventing you from sticking two fingers up to them and offering £0 business rates for, for example, three years to encourage people to start their own businesses? Go on, do it. Be rebellious and get the town loads of free publicity as the ‘Town that Fights Back”. Don’t forget the free parking either!

Finally, people of Ilson. Time to support your own. Get what you need from the big guys, but support your local providers too.

Sunday lunch? Get your meat from the independent butcher’s;

Bread? Staceys.

Need a new table, or something for the kids? Go to Thorpes.

Thirsty? Go to a local coffee shop.

Musical, Zebra at the bottom of Nottingham Road or Alpha on Station Road.

Hardware? Nip to Jimsons in Cotmanhay.

Getting married? Brides Daze.

There is still a large number of local businesses out there. Use them, or lose them.

Jason Edge