The Prime Minister made a rare appearance in the borough this week when he found time to talk to the ‘Tiser about Ilkeston’s train station bid.
During a visit to Long Eaton on Monday, David Cameron said how small stations like the one planned at Ilkeston Junction are ‘just as important’ as big schemes like HS2 for the growth of rail travel in the UK.
And Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin – in charge of transport in Mr Cameron’s Cabinet – came to Ilkeston on Friday to listen to benefits of a station for the town.
Mr Cameron said: “I think it’s really important – that’s why I put a good Derbyshire man in charge of infrastructure in the country.
“It’s important on two levels – people need to get to work safely and quickly
“But also what we need is an improvement in the area’s infrastructure.”
He added that the Government was currently spending more on major transport schemes than at any time in the last 10 years.
He said big plans like the HS2 line set to stop at Toton and the recent electrification of the Midland Mainline were as vital to increased rail travel in the UK as new stations such as Ilkeston’s.
A decision over whether the town will get a train station is set to be made next month.
But the town has already been named as one of the three ‘front runners’ tipped to win a share of £20m which the Government has put aside for new stations.
During his visit, Mr McLoughlin visited the station site, off Station Road with Erewash MP Jessica Lee.
Asked about whether the train station will take people out of town or bring them in, he said: “It does both. It does attract business and give s people the opportunity to get to other places.
“It will relieve the pressure on the roads.
“But It can’t just be about taking people away.”
He held a round table discussion with representatives from the two Ormiston academies, Derby College, charity Action 4 Cotmanhay, Ilkeston Job Centre and Erewash Partnership.
Ian Viles from the partnership told the Minister: “Business needs speedy, modern, efficient transport.”
And Ormiston Ilkeston Academy principal Tracey Dundas added that taking cars of the road would make the town a safer place for her students.