Joy as Stalybridge Civic Hall office conversion is scrapped

By the start of 2015, the TAC building on Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, will be vacated in preparation for demolition. To accommodate employees, otherwise seen in the centre of Ashton, a number of staff would be moved to other buildings in the borough. One of them being Stalybridge Civic Hall.

The former Victoria Market Hall on Trinity Street, Stalybridge, would have seen its exhibition space taken up by temporary office space. Today, people power put paid to Tameside MBC’s conversion owing to the adverse effect this may have had on the town centre.

The temporary conversion would have left the people of Stalybridge devoid of a central community facility, having seen its previous community centre replaced by a clinic. For people living in the top end of Dukinfield, its temporary loss would have had a similar effect. (The Jubilee Hall, and community building in the park’s bowling green being too far on foot for some residents around Tennyson Avenue and Yew Tree Lane).

Instead, staff will be deployed in other rooms at the rear of the Civic Hall thanks to a compromise brokered by Councillor David Sweeton (Dukinfield/Stalybridge, Labour) and Jonathan Reynolds MP (Stalybridge and Hyde, Labour). Most importantly, Stalybridge’s Handmade Market, Beer Festival, Horticulture Show and bloodbank service will carry on unimpeded.

Councillor Sweeton said: “We are thrilled that the Council have listened to the people of Stalybridge, who clearly value this space a great deal. We are delighted that much loved events like the Handmade Market, Beer Festival, Horticulture Show and bloodbank service will now be offered the chance to continue to run in the Civic Hall.

“Going forward we look forward to working with the community to maximise the use of our great building. Thank you to all of you who contacted us to share your views. We are pleased that some Tameside staff will still move into office space in the building, bringing more custom to our town centre businesses. This is a great result for Stalybridge.”

Since initial plans to make the temporary conversion were announced, an online petition has been set up, proposing the return of Stalybridge Civic Hall to the people of Stalybridge.

S.V., 02 December 2014.

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