SHOP owners in Heanor are concerned their town centre is becoming a ghost town after Co-op bosses announced its Market Street store is to close.
Twenty-seven jobs could go when the store shuts its doors on April 16.
Now traders claim drastic measures are needed to revitalise the ailing town centre.
The news comes as people witnessed a series of posters appearing in shop windows and some were fly-posted around the town in protest on Friday morning.
It read ‘would the last business left in Heanor please turn the lights off’. Most of the fly-posed ones were later removed.
High Life kitchen fitters owner Angie Painter, 44, who lives above her business on Ray Street, said: “The last straw really was the Co-op shutting. It has left the top end of town with nothing at all.
“We may as well shut up shop and let everyone go to Tesco. Everyone is just abandoning us.
“If these posters get a reaction from someone then it will have been worth it.”
Mrs Painter has called on the private owners of buildings in the town centre to lower the prices of rent so that businesses can afford to trade.
Elizabeth Hewes, 40, owner of the Lilybet flower shop on Godfrey Street, said: “We just do not know what to do – Heanor is dying a death rapidly.
“In two years time there will be nothing here.”
Both shop owners attended the Amber Valley Borough Council ‘Have Your Say’ meeting held at the Old People’s Welfare Centre on Wilmott Street, Heanor. The meeting was held as part of the Government’s new Localism Bill, which gives local residents a chance to have a say on the future planning of their town.
Mrs Hewes suggested cheaper car parking in the town centre and a revitalised weekend market, which currently only has a single stall on a Saturday, as possible solutions to the poor trading in town.
Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council Cllr Stuart Bradford said the news of Co-op closing came as a surprise. He said: “I understand the sentiment in the poster, but we are not giving up on Heanor.”
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