What life is like in one of Derby’s slums

Residents of a Derby suburb that consistently ranks among the city’s poorest have said they would like to see small-scale improvements to the area that would eventually lead to greater prosperity. They add that Chaddesden has changed a lot over the years and the money is gone, but some still wouldn’t change a thing, saying it’s “friendly” people who often make the area a pleasant place to live.

Surveys have ranked Norwich Street, Cardigan Street and Kerry Street as some of the most deprived in Derby, and our reporter went to speak to shoppers in nearby Wiltshire Road, where locals can find takeaways, Lynne’s Discounts, hairdresser Classic Cuts, Heron Foods, and unlicensed Broomhall.

The latter has been owned by Jarnail Singh Atwal, 67, since 1993. He says shopping habits and the development of big box stores like Iceland and Lidl on Nottingham Road have led customers to spend elsewhere. Mr Atwal said: “Nottingham Road has developed and customers are down a lot. There is no way we can compete with them. I wonder if anyone can do something about it.”

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He added that in recent years he has noticed that locals are spending less at his store and that people have stopped smoking, which made up a large part of his income. Atwal said: “People don’t have money to spend. They used to spend £30, now they spend £20. People were also smoking cigarettes. I have no suggestions honestly what can you do? They can’t even pay their bills, let alone anything else.”

Partners Chris Merry, 79, a former HGV driver, and Janet Lambert, 82, a retired shop assistant, had just visited Mr. Atwal’s store on their daily drive through the area. They talked about how a small improvement would see big results in the area and how it was a matter of having pride in his hometown. Merry, who moved to Chaddesden in 1966 after living in Trenton Green for 16 years, said: “There’s a lot of dog fouling and that sort of thing, and the pavements are dirty. I’ve been saying this for about 15 years, but nothing seems to have been done.”

Ms Lambert, who met Chris after her husband passed away 50 years ago, said: “There are also a lot of cars parked on the pavement and people are struggling to get through. In general, it’s pretty quiet where we are, it’s just the state of the streets. At the top end, near Cardigan Street, that gets ugly with the rubbish.” Added Merry: “People see one thing thrown away and then throw another thing away. The council has no cash, but if they sorted out these little things, other things would be easier to control.”


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