Reader letter; A chance to share a vision for the town

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The question of the future of Ilkeston town centre comes and goes as a topic for public debate but never entirely goes away. And nor should it.

All the time, planners and retail organisations are working on this question and much more may be happening behind the scenes than we realise.

Yet how will we relate to the outcome?

The council consults the public on their plans and may go further than their legal requirement in doing so whilst retail organisations ‘consult’ chiefly through an analysis of shopping habits and spending patterns which they either follow or lead. But what is lacking in all this is the public’s own self generated vision for the town centre.

Is it unreasonable to expect vision to come from such a quarter? Can any fulfilling vision really go forward without it?

However, such vision doesn’t just drop down from the sky. It has to be built up from the ground. And that requires people to meet - with all the challenges inherent in that. It probably isn’t enough to just ask people individually.

So what can be achieved in this direction? That’s what I’d like to find out, with meetings starting in the New Year. Would you like to take part? If so, could you please call me on 0115 783 1616 as this will give me some idea of numbers.

I should stress that whilst this is about getting people together to share their views, I think it will be more constructive to share observations than air opinions to begin with. So, when thinking, about whether this is for you, you might want to bear that in mind as well.

At the end of the process, we should have a better idea of not only what needs to be done but also what we can also each contribute towards that. And this really is essential because, at the end of the day, you can’t legislate for human initiative, only seek to encourage it.

I anticipate evening and/or afternoon meetings on a Tuesday and/or Wednesday according to the possibilities of most participants and the venue. The meetings will need to be big enough to be representative but not so big is to be unmanageable. And it will be of no use at all if they are argumentative.

if you get the answerphone when you call please just leave your name and contact number.

-Richard Shaw