A year on from the first public meeting to help Heanor’s high street - absentee landlords and high rents are still among the biggest issues facing the town.
But with a bigger market, numerous community events and a recent £10,000 boost from Government - the green shoots of recovery are there.
That is according to regeneration manager at Amber Valley Borough Council, and member of Heanor’s Town Team, Stephen Jackson.
He said: “Several traders have left due to increased rents. Another problem is that the shops have flats which are included in the price - so that increases the rent.
“There’s very much a feeling that landlords need to be more realistic with regard to what they’re charging in Heanor.”
Earlier in the year Mr Jackson said the council had written to the landlords to get them involved in various projects - such as shop art projects to improve the look of the buildings.
“We got a mixed response.” He continued. “The more local landlords are more willing to talk to us – property owners further afield are less so.”
He said some of the premises are owned by trusts and pension funds. Others are on a lease with national companies.
The council says it will keep pushing the companies but it is faced with the problem that some of these companies “are so big it’s just a line on their spread sheet,” he added.
But since more than 70 people gathered in the Wilmot Street Centre last November to help draw up a battle plan for the town - Mr Jackson says there have been some very positive developments.
He said transferring the market licence to Heanor Traders’ Association has been a success and the Love Heanor campaign - which aims to promote positivity in the town centre - and the monthly community market at St Lawrence’s Church were big pluses.
Recently installed market manager Ella McManus - says this Friday, November 16, 13 stalls will be on Market Place - compared with just five before the association took over.
She said: “There is increased confidence in the market. Traders are encouraging other traders to come on to the market because they are having a better time up there now.”
Mr Jackson said the possibility of Derby College opening a studio school and the new Florence Shipley care home, would be reasons for people to be in town. But neither project is due to open before 2014.