Fast broadband plan for Heanor

Super-FAST broadband could be on its way to Heanor if a funding bid is approved by Derbyshire County Council.

Traders and businesses in the town have been up in arms since Co-op bosses announced their Market Street Somerfield store was to close on April 16.

And in January it missed out on plans to upgrade the broadband internet speeds in Derbyshire towns.

Ripley and Alfreton will both see broadband using fibre-optics to street cabinets (FTTC) implemented by 2012 as part of a £2.5bn BT network upgrade. But Heanor may have to wait until 2015.

This week, Amber Valley Borough councillor Kevin Parkinson, cabinet support member for quality of place, announced that he was in talks with the county council over plans to install fibre-optic broadband on the Heanor Gate industrial estate with a view to extending the service into the town at a later date.

He said: “It would create a whole new pull for Heanor, not just for business but on a social level as well. Delivering that in the next year and the following years will make Heanor a more attractive investment.”

A spokesperson from the county council confirmed there could be money available from the sale of properties bought as part of the Heanor relief road project, which was canned in October.

It is believed a total of £550,000 could be made from the sales which the council has designated for use in regenerating Heanor.

He added : “There is a possibility some of this could be used for the broadband upgrade.”

It is not yet known how much the upgrade would cost and or when the council will decide how the relief road money should be spent.

Harry Skidmore, managing director of Easi-bind, on Heanor Gate Industrial Estate, first approached Cllr Parkinson with the proposal.

He said: “We have been looking for funding for this for a year and we have been turned down by regional development agencies.”

“Business today is all about connectivity and fast broadband is critical. We want to be one of the first in the area rather than one of the last.”