Fig. 1: Employment in Erewash by sector
Table 1: Unemployment Rates (Aged 16-64)
Table 2: New Businesses and Business Closures in Erewash


Strategic priority 1: Town Centres
Strategic priorities 2: Rural Recreation
Strategic priority 3: Development and Business Growth






The Erewash Economic Development Strategy has been produced by Erewash Borough Council to set out the steps we need to take to ensure that the Borough's thriving and vibrant economy is able to grow and take full advantage of future opportunities.

Our Vision for Economic Development in Erewash:

"We will develop a thriving and vibrant economy for the Borough, where our people, businesses and town centres are well placed to benefit from future opportunities."


Historically, Erewash's economy has shown great flexibility and resilience, surviving the national decline of the heavy industries on which it was founded by having the ability to evolve and diversify.

Whilst the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been clearly felt within Erewash there remain significant opportunities for economic growth. Through this Strategy the Council intends to set out our proposals for ensuring that Erewash's businesses and workforce have the support necessary to take full advantage of these opportunities.

Strategic Priorities

This Strategy sets out our economic development objectives for Erewash under the following three strategic priorities:

  1.  Town Centres:                           
  • Drive the development and foster the resilience of Erewash’s town centres and maintain the vitality of the Borough’s other centres.
  1. Rural Recreation:                       
  • Maintain and improve sustainable transport access to the Erewash countryside.

  • Improve the number, quality and range of rural recreation opportunities.

  1. Supporting Development and Business Growth:                   
  • Helping to bring forward employment sites.

  • Supporting business and entrepreneurship in Erewash.

Delivery Methods

In producing this Strategy, Erewash Borough Council are responsible for ensuring that every effort is made to realise the Strategy's Vision and achieve the objectives. To support this, we will work with key partners and stakeholders to develop Delivery Plans, setting out how we intend to work towards our goals, the resources and support required and how we will measure success.



A strong local economy is vital to the success and wellbeing of the Borough. The Erewash Economic Development Strategy has been produced by Erewash Borough Council with the purpose of clearly setting out the steps we need to take to ensure that the Borough's thriving and vibrant economy is able to grow and take full advantage of future opportunities.

The Strategy supports our Corporate Plan and is intended to sit alongside the Borough's Local Plan to ensure that the impact and influence of spatial factors on economic growth are fully realised.

This Strategy will cover the period from 2022 to 2027 and will be reviewed in 2026.


We will develop a thriving and vibrant economy for the Borough, where our people, businesses and town centres are well placed to benefit from future opportunities.

This Strategy has been developed at a time of economic change for Erewash. Our economy was built on industry and manufacturing and the historic decline in these sectors, together with the evolution of the town centre economy and the impact of Brexit and the global pandemic, has had a pronounced effect upon the Borough.

In determining our Vision for economic development, describing our aspirations for Erewash and underpinning this Strategy and its priorities, we have been objective about the challenges facing our residents and businesses. Given the global impact of the pandemic, we are mindful that at the present time and in common with the majority of local authorities both regionally and nationally, Erewash's economy is having to deal with significant challenges.

This Vision has been devised to reflect the role that we wish to take to support our local workforce and businesses and sustain the Borough's economy whilst times are hard, using our influence and powers to safeguard the vitality of Erewash's town centres and promote the local economy.  At the same time we will work in partnership with the full range of external organisations and networks to ensure that as the economy starts to recover, our residents and businesses have the right skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed and grow as new opportunities arise.



Through the Erewash Economic Development Strategy, we have set the agenda for delivering economic development and growth in the Borough, utilising the freedoms provided in the Localism Act of 2011. In setting this agenda we have taken account of successful initiatives being delivered by key partners and stakeholders, whilst also listening to local communities and businesses to provide the support they need to succeed.

Delivery of this Strategy will be enabled by a number of polices and strategies which focus on significant priorities such as town centre regeneration. In developing subsequent Delivery Plans we will carefully consider how best to use our resources, powers and influence to support and develop the local economy.

 About Erewash

· Erewash covers an area of 42.2 square miles and has a population of 115,400 (2019, NOMIS). Around 75% of this figure live in the two principal towns of Ilkeston and Long Eaton. The remainder of the Borough is predominantly rural with 72% of the total area falling within the defined Nottingham-Derby Green Belt. Based on 2011 Census data the ethnic minority population represents 4.8%.
· The M1, A52, A38 and (just beyond the southern boundary) the A50 all provide connections to nearby towns and cities.
· Regular direct rail services to London and other major cities are accessible from Long Eaton railway station. Ilkeston Station opened in April 2017. Stations served include Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Norwich and Liverpool.
· Frequent bus services operate across Erewash, with the two main towns having regular direct links to the city centres of Nottingham and Derby.
· East Midlands Airport, which is second only to Heathrow in terms of freight services, is located just three miles south of Erewash.
· The Borough contains several green networks including the Erewash Canal, national cycle routes and greenways.

The Erewash economy was founded on coal mining, iron working, textiles and railways. Since the 1980s, there has been a substantial restructuring of British industry which has impacted strongly on the Borough's economic base. Today the manufacturing sector, although smaller, still provides around 18% of the Borough's jobs – still more than twice the UK average (Employee Jobs 2019, Office for National Statistics, ONS Business Register and Employment Survey).

Following the national decline of heavy industry the Borough's economy has shown flexibility and the ability to diversify to include a wide range of industries. Whilst manufacturing is still the largest single employer in the Borough, when shown together with construction in Fig. 1 below, at 25% it is similar in scale to the other main employment sectors. 'Services to people', which has grown to be the largest sector, includes retail, accommodation/food, and entertainment businesses.


Fig. 1: Employment in Erewash by sector

 A pie chart shows dominance of manufacturing in Erewash

The UK economy has recently faced extraordinary challenges. Following the Brexit Referendum in June 2016, the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, ending 47 years of membership. However, it is only since 31 December 2020 that new trading arrangements have been in place. Immediately following that transition, the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a serious blow to the UK economy. While there have been a myriad of business support schemes and the Furlough scheme has supported jobs, the UK economy has suffered and unemployment has risen. One aspect of this can be seen in table 1 below, which compares the Borough's unemployment rate with that of neighbouring authorities and the East Midlands and England averages.

Table 1: Unemployment Rates (Aged 16 – 64)

Area ErewashAmber ValleyBroxtoweNorth West LeicesterRushcliffeSouth DerbysEast MidlandsEngland
January 2019 to December 2019 3.1% 


 3.7  3.3  2.4  2.3  3.7  3.9
January 2020 to December 2020 4.3%   4.3% 3.9%  4.8%  3.8%  3.6%   4.7% 4.6%

Source: NOMIS Local Authority Profile

Table 2 shows the growth in Erewash business. It compares the numbers of new businesses with the number of business closures in the Borough over the period from 2013 to 2019.

Table 2: New Businesses and Business Closures in Erewash 

New business 430  455  440  470  430  435  430
Business closures 295  300  330  340  395  385  390
Net change +135  +155  +110  +130  +35  +50  +40

Source: Office for National Statistics Business Demography 

Table 3: Town Centre Vacancy Rates. % Rate of Vacant Town Centre Units

YearIlkestonLong Eaton

Source EBC Town Centre Health Check

The Covid-19 pandemic shut down large sectors of the economy from March 2020, especially the hospitality and leisure industry but also personal services and non-essential retail. Though there have also been effects on other parts of the economy, town centres in particular saw a marked downturn in vitality and therefore viability. Despite this, the local economy has shown remarkable resilience, not least because of extensive Government funding support, with no significant increase in vacant commercial property or unemployment to date.  Indeed, despite a fall in town centre footfall since the first national lockdown, the rate of vacant units is reducing in both towns and is now below pre-pandemic levels in Ilkeston.  Nevertheless, the situation remains uncertain and the full impacts will not be known for some time to come.

As the Borough recovers following the pandemic, there are significant opportunities for economic growth ahead. The Stanton Regeneration site is likely to offer substantial industrial and warehousing space, and in the longer term, new homes along with a new neighbourhood centre and green infrastructure. New office space is expected to be provided around the Borough’s town centres though this may require public intervention as the market has so far failed to provide the 42,900 square metres of new office space target as set out in the 2014 Erewash Core Strategy.


SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a strategic tool used to provide a snapshot of the key Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to the Erewash economy.
Strengths are attributes of the Erewash economy that assist in the development of a competitive and diverse economy, whereas weaknesses act as the reverse.
Opportunities are external conditions that, if utilised, assist the development of the Erewash economy whilst threats are external conditions that harm the economy and therefore need to be addressed in order to support the creation of a competitive and diverse economy.

Strengths of Erewash

  • Erewash is in a central location with large population and workforce catchments.
  • Good accessibility to local, national and international transport infrastructure - road, rail and air.
  • Canal routes offer sustainable travel and leisure.
  • Erewash has a strong industrial heritage with mill buildings contributing positively to the urban landscape.
  • Erewash has a rich and varied natural environment, such as the Erewash and Trent Valleys.
  • Erewash has important nationally recognised facilities like the Green Flag awarded parks and Erewash Canal and Trent Lock.
  • Erewash workforce retains manufacturing skills.
  • Long Eaton has a world class reputation for upholstery.
  • Erewash's people and businesses have a strong sense of local community.

Weaknesses of Erewash

  • Relatively low qualification levels amongst the local workforce.
  • Shortage of readily available development sites.
  • The local area does not fully exploit its industrial heritage and natural environment.
  • Shortage of quality industrial and commercial units for all levels of business investment.
  • Shortage of appropriate, high quality housing.
  • Pockets of high deprivation.
  • Several large empty buildings in the town centres struggle to find a use and have become an eyesore.
  • Large rural economy facing changing agricultural support system.
  • Tourism assets largely unknown outside the Borough.
  • Erewash isn't a nationally recognised brand.

Opportunities for Erewash

  • Stanton Regeneration Site is key for regeneration led development.
  • Capitalising on the Borough's proximity to the expanding East Midlands international airport.
  • Well located in relation to key sectors highlighted by the D2N2 LEP - Health & Bioscience in Nottingham and Advanced Transport Engineering in Derby.
  • An emerging precision engineering/ specialist manufacturing sector.
  • No car parking levy - may attract Nottingham based companies to the Borough.
  • Potential to further diversify through recreation, education and leisure.
  • Increased availability of external funding to stimulate renewal and regeneration.
  • Brexit could offer Erewash companies potential new export markets and more competitive commodity prices. 

Threats facing Erewash

  • The national trend of declining town centres and markets.
  • Nationwide decline of manufacturing and industry.
  • Lack of high value and high salary employment within the Borough.
  • Competition from the three cities for new investment. (Nottingham, Derby & Leicester).
  • The safeguarded construction corridor for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) could blight both immediately affected properties and the town of Long Eaton as a whole.
  • Brexit uncertainty around increased red tape, poorer exports and harder to recruit EU seasonal agricultural workers.
  • Likely contraction of the public sector.

Strategic Priorities

Our economic objectives and priorities for local action are set out under three distinct themes. These objectives and priorities will be used to identify specific actions and targets that will form the basis of annually reviewed Delivery Plans. The three Strategic Priorities are:

  1. Town Centres.
  2. Rural recreation
  3. Supporting Development and Business Growth

Strategic Priority 1: Town Centres

Supporting the towns and local centres of Erewash has long been a priority for Erewash. It remains so in this strategy and will form a core part of the post pandemic recovery. These hubs play an important role in providing a focus for community life and should be supported though the continued process of transformation that these centres experience. This can be achieved through supporting the revitalisation of the high streets, better transport links for all users; pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike, and repurposing redundant space for evolving uses in the towns. These revitalised town centres can emerge with an enhanced and diverse range of facilities, including new housing provision.

The Erewash Borough Council Core Strategy recognises the importance of ensuring the long term vitality and viability of our centres. Sustainable management is required to create competitive and attractive town centres that are resilient to future economic changes and able to respond to new opportunities. This strategy shares these ambitions for our town centres.

Connectivity is increasingly important to Erewash’s vitality. Erewash is in a central location nationally and regionally, and further benefits from the Ilkeston passenger rail station which opened in 2017. This strategy looks to enable further improvement of physical connectivity, and will also consider the increasingly important digital connectivity.

Economic Development Objective 1.1

Drive the development and foster the resilience of Erewash’s town centres and maintain the vitality of the Borough’s other centres

Priorities for local action

  • Enable the redevelopment of underused and redundant premises.
  • Bring empty shops back into commercial use.
  • Support adoption of digital technologies
  • Work with key partners to identify and deliver innovative approaches to improving and promoting our town centres.
  • Promote the development of a diverse town centre offer to encourage thriving day and evening economies.
  • Improve accessibility to, and within, our town centres.

Economic indicators

  1. Footfall in our town centres.
  2. Percentage of empty commercial spaces in our town and local centres.

Strategic Priority 2: Rural Recreation

Outside the main towns of Ilkeston and Long Eaton, Erewash’s villages are surrounded by rural space, with the green belt accounting for 72% of the Borough as it forms a buffer between the conurbations of Derby and Nottingham. Erewash has a large rural economy which is navigating its way through recent changes to agricultural support after leaving the European Union which may well alter the way in which the industry operates.

A key influence on the wellbeing and prosperity of the residents of Erewash is the access to the green facilities within the towns, and the opportunities afforded by the wide and attractive green and rural spaces of the open countryside. This has been especially important during the pandemic and is expected to remain so in the future. Sustainable access improvements will improve the wellbeing of the residents and provide the essential infrastructure to support the rural recreation economy.

There are many special rural areas which enrich Erewash, many of which have received formal recognition. In 2019 Trent Meadows was designated a Local Nature Reserve, following the designation of Trent Lock as a Conservation Area in 2018. Running through the Borough is the Erewash Canal which received recognition with a prestigious Green Flag award for the first time in 2020.

Enhancement of the Trent Valley will also develop rural recreation in Erewash. It is already home to a number of water based leisure activities in the network of canals and tributaries around the River Trent.

Economic Development Objective 2.1

Maintain and improve sustainable transport access to the Erewash Countryside

Priorities for local action

  • Extend the network of multi-user trails.
  • Maintain and promote frequent bus corridors through the countryside

Economic Indicators

  1. Km of multi-user trails.
  2. Use of multi-user trails.
  3. Extent of frequent bus network
  4. Use of frequent bus network.

Economic Development Objective 2.2

Improve the number, quality and range of rural recreation opportunities

Priorities for local action

  • Audit existing recreation opportunities.
  • Promote existing and new tourism attractions
  • Encourage new facilities where appropriate

Economic indicators

  1. Rural visitor numbers
  2. Number of employees in rural visitor economy

Strategic Priority 3: Development and Business Growth

To maintain and boost the Borough’s economy it is vital that existing businesses are supported to grow and diversify, while new businesses start-ups are nurtured.

Given the constrained nature of Erewash’s built up areas, support will be required to make the most of existing and potential employment sites. Realising the potential of the Stanton Regeneration Site for employment will also be a key priority.

In addition to providing space for expansion, the right environment for business growth has to be provided. Support for entrepreneurs and new business starts will be necessary to maintain a healthy and vibrant business community.

Economic Development Objective 3.1

Helping to bring forward employment sites.

Priorities for local action

  • Enable the delivery of employment space though conversion and new build.
  • Facilitate the development of Stanton and other employment sites.
  • Continue to review property and land in our ownership and identify opportunities where this could be used to kick start broader inward investment.
  • Encourage the regeneration and use of vacant premises.
  • Support inward investment enquiries.

Economic indicators

  1. Amount of new office, industrial and warehouse space.
  2. Hectares of redundant buildings and sites.

Economic Development Objective 3.2

Supporting business and entrepreneurship in Erewash.

Priorities for local action

  • Enable start-up and existing businesses to grow and flourish through provision of advice and support.
  • Enable business recovery from COVID-19 and help to build future resilience.

Economic indicators

  1. Number of businesses accessing support and advice.
  2. Number of new business registrations.

Delivery Methods

This Strategy deliberately focuses on the Borough's key areas of need and opportunity, and the actions that can be achieved by the Council and its partners. It details the primary objectives and priorities for local actions that we wish to address to promote a thriving economy that is well positioned to grow and exploit future opportunities.

The objectives and priorities of this Economic Development Strategy will be delivered through the annual Delivery Plans. These will take into account opportunities for corporate action including:

  • Identifying opportunities for services across the Council to work together to support Erewash's continued economic development
  • Making use of our statutory powers to support this Strategy's objectives e.g. using Planning powers to enforce the clean-up of derelict high street properties
  • Investigating whether new ways of engaging with and supporting our businesses and workforce are required

Working alongside the Council are a number of key partners and agencies from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, who have a crucial role in supporting the economic success of the Borough. Whilst this Strategy primarily focuses on what we can do to support the Borough's economy we also appreciate the substantial role that our partners have to play in achieving this Strategy's Vision for Erewash. This will be reflected within this Strategy's Delivery Plans where, alongside the actions that we will be leading on, we have also included details of the key activities that are led by our partners which we believe will make a contribution towards Erewash's economic development.

Erewash Partnership

The Erewash Partnership Ltd (EP) is a not for profit organisation that provides managed workspace and business advice in conjunction with the D2N2 Growth Hub. EP is partially funded by EBC.

Derbyshire Economic Partnership

DEP is a public and private sector partnership which comes together to facilitate an effective and coordinated approach to economic development across Derbyshire.

Derbyshire County Council

The County Council provides transport and skills services that make an important contribution to the economic vitality of the Borough.

Long Eaton Town Deal Board

The Town Board was formed for the Long Eaton Town Deal and was based on the pre-existing Long Eaton Summit group. The Board has representatives from business, voluntary and other community groups in the town as well as the MP and local and regional councils.

Ilkeston Town Centre Contact Group

Ilkeston’s Town Centre group is an informal group formed by the council to direct how the Morrisons S106 site town centre regeneration contribution should be used for the benefit of the town. The group represented businesses and community groups in the town

Equalities Impact Assessment

An Equalities Impact Assessment has been undertaken for this Erewash Economic Development Strategy. This is available as a 180KB Word document. Please click on this link to view: Equalities Impact Assessment ED Strategy