Wifi park bid is given thumbs up

Digital Age: Matlock Town Council and local businessman Irfan Shabir have both submitted tenders to get WiFi connections into Hall Leys Park and the centre of Matlock.
Digital Age: Matlock Town Council and local businessman Irfan Shabir have both submitted tenders to get WiFi connections into Hall Leys Park and the centre of Matlock.
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Visitors to Hall Leys Park will soon be able to log onto the internet for free thanks to a successful Wifi bid by the council.

Matlock Town Council’s proposal to provide free Wifi to the park was approved by members of Derbyshire Dales District Council – however not everyone is happy about the decision.

Last month, Irfan Shabir, who owns Maazi Indian restaurant, submitted his own self–funded bid to provide free Wifi, believing it to have no competition.

Matlock Partnership had originally been awarded £30,000 of funding to install Wifi in the park by the Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership three years ago, however the organisation disbanded last year having failed to bring the scheme to fruition.

The project was left in the hands of the town council – however after nothing seemed to be done about it many people began to question what had happened to the funding.

Speaking about the town council’s proposal, Peter Foley, director of community services at the district council, said: “One of the reasons for supporting their bid is at least there is some public accountability.

“They intend to get sponsorship from local businesses.”

Cllr Steve Flitter, who is a member of both the town and district councils, said: “For the life of me I can’t understand why there were two applications.

“It shouldn’t be council versus traders or traders versus the community.

“We should all be talking together and coming up with some ideas.”

He said he thought it was important that the public be consulted on the plan before it was put in place.

Cllr Flitter was also a director of the Matlock Partnership and said the £30,000 funding had been spent on Wifi equipment, which had been given to the town council when the partnership had dissolved.

Irfan claimed the idea of getting local businesses to sponsor the Wifi was originally his.

“All the previous years they have never thought about approaching local businesses and getting them to help – this is what I proposed and this is what I have done,” he argued.

Irfan said he had already spent £500 of his own money putting the Wifi into place because he was lead to believe there would not be a problem with his plans.