The Gateway to Ripley scheme is another attempt by AVBC to kill off trade in Ripley Town Centre.

On there website they describe the success of other such builds. Using Alfreton and Langley Mill as ‘good’ examples of building superstores in town is misleading and wrong - The site for the Ripley store is on the town’s outskirts and as such will have a detrimental effect on local trade in the town centre as any trade to the new site will not have the short distance to walk into town, as in Alfreton and Langley Mill.

Heanor’s Town Centre has all but died since the retail site and Tesco’s was built, and the walking distance from these into Heanor’s town centre is considerably shorter than that for the proposed site at Ripley.

Since Sainsburys was allowed to build on their current site, business and trade has been on a steady decline. Had the decision been made back then, to build the now almost empty AVBC offices on the current Butterley Park site, and Sainsburys within the town - would Ripley’s market be in the state it is or would it have flourished?

The jobs that may be created by the building of a superstore on the outskirts of town will not ofset the jobs that will be lost when local, independent traders have to close in town.

They talk about much needed homes in the town and yet there are newly built apartments, ideal for first time buyers and families alike. Empty, why? Because they are affordable for those that are in need of the housing in this area. Any housing development being considered needs to be at least 50% social housing, as it’s this type of housing that is badly needed in the area.

Instead of looking at what areas can be sold to the highest bidders, I say AVBC should be in consultation with those that successfully run markets, like Tansley market and car boot, Chesterfield’s market, Regional Food and craft Fayres and find ways to build Ripley back into the Historic Market Town that is By becoming more individual as a Town, by using our heritage, we are much more likely to build a sustainable town centre.

Belper is marketed on his heritage and as such, it’s town centre flourishes while Ripley’s in rapid decline. It’s sad that nothing has been done with Ripley’s old cinema in the same way that Belper’s has. That in itself would be a huge bonus for the Town.

What we need is some ‘thinking outside the box’ approach - not sell what we can to the highest bidder and then see our town crumble.

H. Allsopp

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