Urgent repairs to be carried out at hazardous Derbyshire town centre shop

Repairs to a hazardous Derbyshire town centre shop which has been vacant for two decades are set to take place.
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The Albion building, at 110 to 112 Bath Street, Ilkeston, was last used as the TV shop Wigfalls some 20 years ago, but remains empty.

In late July, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) detailed that Erewash Borough Council and the area’s MP were pushing the owners, Vermion UK Ltd, to take urgent action.

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They had called for repairs to make it safe and to bring it back into permanent use, dubbing the building a danger to the public due to its disrepair.

The Albion building in Bath Street, Ilkeston. Image from Google.The Albion building in Bath Street, Ilkeston. Image from Google.
The Albion building in Bath Street, Ilkeston. Image from Google.

Now the borough council has confirmed that the Albion building is undergoing urgent repair works.

It says the owners have applied to Derbyshire County Council to close the pavement and side-street next to the building in order to erect scaffolding to facilitate repairs.

Councillor Alex Breene, the borough council’s lead member for town centres, regeneration and planning, said: “I am pleased to see the start of remedial work on the Albion building in Ilkeston.

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“Erewash Labour’s manifesto was clear. Residents and landlords alike should expect this council to drive town centre regeneration and to do everything within its power to proactively bring empty commercial properties back into use.

“Decline is not inevitable. It is a key priority of this council to work with our communities to protect our town centre heritage and to deliver our roadmap to regeneration.”

The building’s owners could not be contacted for comment.

The building had been part of a bid from the council last summer to compulsorily purchase long-term vacant shops and bring them back into use, but this bid for funding, totalling £20 million, was rejected by central Government in January.

Meanwhile, Cllr Robert Flately, county councillor for the area, had called for a regeneration scheme for the lower end of Bath Street, which would include the Albion building, to “bring more life back to that part of the town”.

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He hoped this would come forward in later Government grant funding bids.

Erewash MP Maggie Throup had said in July that the building was in a “dire state” and was both a “risk to public safety” and “doing real damage” to town centre trade.

She had said: “As well as the new powers in the Government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to tackle absent landlords, Erewash Borough Council need to use the significant powers they already have to secure the building and make it safe.”

Last summer, the council had detailed that 10 properties in Bath Street had been vacant for between four and 23 years, including the Albion building, which is the second longest period a shop has been empty in the town’s high street.