Never in my lifetime would I had expected the patron saint of flat pack furniture to darken the doorstep of Ashton-under-Lyne. It is happening, and on Thursday 19th October, the first town centre based IKEA store will be based in the administrative capital of Tameside.
On the site of a former NORWEB building, Ashton-under-Lyne gained the IKEA store ahead of Stockport, after deputy Prime Minister John Prescott snubbed the Cheshire town. The snubbed site on Portwood is close to the equally controversial Tesco Extra store (for being several square feet bigger than planned). This was rejected on the grounds of congestion, though the opening of Ashton’s store will test the congestion on the M60 and its attendant arterial roads to its limits.
For years, the average Ashtonian had to make do with MFI, B&Q, Argos, or a drive to IKEA in Warrington. From Thursday, this will no longer be the case. Just to prove that this is actually happening, please click on the IKEA link below:
New IKEA Store
On the other hand, this same Thursday will see Ashton-under-Lyne’s crown post office close. Along with two others in Greater Manchester (Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Altrincham), this will be moved to WHSmith, in the Arcades shopping centre. This leaves Stalybridge as the sole post office in Tameside to operate from its original building. Following a 5,000 name petition in July, the efforts of the petitioners were in vain, as Post Office Counters had already made the decision at the end of July – a week before their consultation period expired. This resulted in a meeting, which resulted in no further progress on retaining facilities in the Warrington Street building.
I have decided not to rant too much on the post office, as this detracts from the main purpose of this thread.
Expect to see future posts on the IKEA store itself.
S.V., 18 October 2006.