Heanor: Your town needs you!

THE battle cry has been sounded for Heanor residents to get involved and help save their town centre.

THE battle cry has been sounded for Heanor residents to get involved and help save their town centre.

As part of our Staying Alive campaign, which aims to help breath new life into the ailing town centre, a public meeting is to take place with a view to drawing up an action plan to revitalise the area. We have teamed up with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Heanor traders and the newly formed community group there in a bid help the town centre in the Market Place area, which has been hit by a rash of shop closures.

In July more than 100 traders and residents from the town filled in an online survey with their views on what could be done to improve the town. The survey was organised by the chamber of commerce, which now aims to use the compiled results as the starting point for a plan to help the town.

You told us about your concerns for Heanor’s future and proposed some possible solutions, including looking at parking charges and improving the look of the many closed shops.

Now people are being urged to attend the public meeting set for Wednesday, November 30, to discuss the next step now the results are in. The organisers want the meeting to be a positive one with a view to compiling a list of actions, as they feel it is now or never for action to be taken to halt the downward spiral in Heanor. The venue for the meeting will be announced shortly, but will be in the town centre.

The meeting will focus on where to invest and how to work together to improve the town, as well as discussing the possibility of introducing a ‘business improvement district’ in the area, similar to those seen in Beeston and Mansfield, where they have helped traders.

Nick Chischniak, policy and representation manager at the chamber, said: “The chamber was encouraged to see such a good response to its recent high street survey which underlines how strongly local people feel about the need for improvement.

“We view this as the start of a process to bring about change, the first stage of which means a public meeting that allows retailers and the community to come together to review the feedback and explore solutions together.

“This is the moment for local people to decide what happens next, and to see for themselves how other towns have coped successfully with similar issues.

“Its success can only be determined by the community; so we would ask people to participate to bring some much-needed assistance to its hub – the high street.”

A venue is yet to be decided for the November 29 meeting, which is to be called Help for Heanor High Street: Public Meeting.

The event is open to anyone to attend, however the chamber is keen to point out that the event is aimed at discussing solutions rather than problems.

Simon Minto, 28, who co-owns the Market cafe on Market Street in the town was encouraged by the idea of a business improvement district. The scheme would see traders contributing an additional monthly fee on top of their monthly rates, which would be used for improvements in the town.

Simon said: “Anything that does improve the town and shopping and footfall through the high street is fantastic – that is what we are all here for.”

Heanor Town Council has also voiced its support for the public meeting. Council leader Paul Jones said: “We all have a common aim to improve the town here and that is an important thing - the meeting is going to be mutually beneficial to everyone.”

Heanor Development Trust has given its support to the public meeting, urging townsfolk to get involved.