Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, November 2015: The Ashton Review of Shops

This month’s window on the shop windows

  • Success of Halloween event in Stalybridge;
  • Hyde B&Q becomes B&M;
  • New eateries in Ashton-under-Lyne;
  • Tameside Hospital becomes first in Britain to open a Foodbank.

Halloween provided some great interest to the borough’s retail scene, particularly in Stalybridge. Elsewhere, the usual changes to our shop windows.

Halloween in Stalybridge

Whilst Stalybridge Celtic had a Real Horror Show at Kellamergh Park (losing 5-0 to AFC Fylde away, as your correspondent can testify having attended that fixture), pumpkins and cobwebs dominated the town centre on the last Saturday in October. Later on in the afternoon, there was a torchlight parade around Melbourne Street and Grosvenor Street. Participants carried lanterns its shopping streets.

Change the ‘Q’ to an ‘M’ to make…

The Ashton Review of Shops is relieved to find out about the former B&Q unit on Manchester Road, Hyde. We can reveal that the blue and red paintwork is that of… B&M Bargains. Therefore, the former DIY store will become a B&M Homestore. This will be the second discounter on Manchester Road, being next to the Poundstretcher unit that has soldered on for over 20 years.

At present, B&M Bargains’ present Hyde branch is in the Clarendon Mall. We wonder if the discounter, managed by Sir Terry Leahy, would have two branches (as with Poundstretcher), or close the Clarendon Mall branch in favour of Manchester Road. Our money’s on the latter option.

New eateries in Ashton

Two eateries of a different kind have opened in Ashton-under-Lyne, both a short stagger from The Bowling Green. One is Freshers, a diner style fast food establishment on Penny Meadow. Its pink and sky blue interior screams ‘student friendly’, and is set to give Chicken Station a run for its money.

For food of a different kind – this time, not of the nutritionally incorrect variety – Market Street sees the arrival of a café where you can Pay What You Can Afford. Known as the Herb Loft, its dishes are made using short coded food. In other words, the food items your supermarket would otherwise throw out. The Herb Loft opened on the 01 October and is a member of The Real Junk Food Project. With winter coming, expect to see some gorgeous home made style soups.

The Tameside Hospital Foodbank

The end of last month saw our hospital hit the national headlines. Thankfully, none of the usual scare stories though something symptomatic of our present times. That of foodbanks. Tameside Hospital’s, opened by Ashton-under-Lyne M.P. Angela Rayner early this week.

Given the borough’s pioneering role in the 2012 Welfare Reform Act, its causal effects (mainly higher rates of benefit sanctions and the delivery of Universal Credit) has seen a rise in foodbank use. With malnutrition returning to pre-NHS levels, Tameside Hospital became the first hospital in Britain to open a permanent foodbank. After treatment, patients may be referred to the foodbank if s/he is undernourished.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

Polite Note: for reasons of brevity, any pub and club applications come under the Pub and Club Update section.

  • The former Tameside Reporter offices on Acres Lane, Stalybridge could become a restaurant with takeaway facilities. The proposed restaurant (Indian or Chinese, we don’t know as yet) will have two entrances (Lawton Street and Park Street) with little changes to present access requirements (Crowfoots Carriers and coaches during the Labour Club’s Whit Friday Brass Band Contest).
  • Retrospective planning permission has been submitted for the installation of an ATM machine at Family Shopper. The addition of which to the former Irish Club could be handy for commuters and college students.
  • New signage plans have been submitted for the Bon Marche store in the Ladysmith Shopping Centre.
  • Though not strictly retail, two of our non-league football clubs could be seeing solar panels, or a mobile phone mast. The former, taking advantage of the Government’s incentives prior to closure next year, is Hyde United. Telefonica have put in plans for a mobile phone mast outside Bower Fold, home of Stalybridge Celtic. The proposed mast may be positioned behind the Mottram End pie hut.
  • Raja Bros’ Express store on Astley Street, Dukinfield has put in a Change of Use application from a café to that of an A5 class takeaway licence.

Retail Movements

  • Stamford Cars has now settled into one of the four new units opposite The Witchwood. Getting back from a gig is easier than ever after five real ciders!
  • Ethel Austin has closed leaving the unit vacant.

Pub and club update

As detailed by one commenter on a previous Ashton Review of Shops, work on the Wetherspoons hotel in The Ash Tree, Ashton-under-Lyne has been delayed. The project will be shovel ready by the start of next year.

There will also be sad news for Dentonians as the depubification of Denton West Working Mens’ Club is set to be complete. An application has been put in for its demolition with four two bedroom bungalows and two three bedroom semi-detached houses. The three bedroom houses will include a Master Bedroom with en-suite facilities though rather tight dimensions for its rear gardens.

Not long after losing the Hare and Hounds in Broadbottom, The White Hart‘s permanent loss is set to make the centre of Mottram-in-Longdendale a pub-free zone. The former Wilson’s house will become apartments. Though its plans may be in keeping with the centre, the nearest pub for Mottram’s ale fans is the award-winning Harewood Arms, home to Green Mill Brewery.

On the other hand, The Gun Inn (thought to be a future candidate for depubification) in Hollingworth has been attractively refurbished. Even so, a case for reopening The Old Pack Horse on Ashworth Lane, or doubling the 202’s evening service from every two hours to once hourly?

Any hopes of reopening The Commercial on Huddersfield Road, Millbrook, have been scotched. With the pub being vacant for several years (well before the smoking ban was introduced in 2007), the former pub beside Ditchcroft is set to be partially demolished. Part of the pub will become residential property with a car park on the demolished part on the site of the pub.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Will an occupant be found for the Ethel Austin unit? Will the streets of Tameside be full of Christmas cheer? All will be revealed, by the first Sunday of December or thereabouts.

S.V., 04 November 2015.

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