Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, February 2016: The Ashton Review of Shops

This month’s window on the shop windows

Ashton Market and demolished TAC
Going… Tameside MBC TAC building.
  • Fitness centre leaves Old Street unit;
  • Stalybridge Micropub due to open this month;
  • Stalybridge Homecare leaves after over 20 years in the town;
  • Glossop TESCO to cease 24 hour opening.

The last month alone has seen a fair few movements, a case of The O.K., The Bad, and the Downright Inevitable.

“Never going to see no Unicorn…”

Shortly before this month’s bulletin went to press, the Unicorn Ladies’ Fitness Centre on 94 Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne has closed. A notice was seen on the front door of the premises, stating its closure after the 28 January 2016. This being under the landlord’s direction.

The Unicorn Ladies’ Fitness Centre building has had quite a fascinating existence. Prior to being a female only gym, it was Blasters’ Ashton-under-Lyne branch. Its first use was The Alexandra Billiard Hall, then it became a base for Hadfield’s Removals.

In 1939, then newly acquired by Ernest Broadbent, there was plans to convert it to a 418 seat cinema/live theatre. The Billiard Hall would have occupied the first floor – a la Alexandra dans le Corporation Street, Hyde. Dressing rooms would have been in the basement. Less than three months after submitting the plans, the outbreak of the Second World War began, scuppering what could have been a good base for amateur theatre or art house films.

Bridge Beers update

By the time you’ve read this, the Bridge Beers micropub may be up and running. The new venture on Melbourne Street is due to open some time this week. Trading hours, seven days a week, will be between 10am to 10.30pm.

An old name returns…

For the first time since the 1980s, North West England branches of The Royal Bank of Scotland will be renamed Williams & Glyn. Before the bank’s takeover by the Royal Bank of Scotland, they had a notable presence in Greater Manchester and Merseyside. The original bank’s offices was based in central Manchester.

…As an old friend leaves

After over thirty years in the centre of Stalybridge, Mike and Brenda from Stalybridge Homecare will down tools for the last time this month. The couple are retiring owing to Mike being struck by osteoarthritis, a curse which has struck his dogged his family for 170 years.

We wish them well on their next adventure and thank them for the help they have given to Stalybridge’s DIY-ers over the last three decades. After leaving their unit on Market Street, they will continue to give past customer advice by email.

TESCO cuts hours in Failsworth and Glossop

Slightly further away, though of local significance is TESCO’s recent crises. 76 of its stores will cease trading for 24 hours a day between Monday and Saturday.

Those affected include TESCO Extra in Failsworth, and the TESCO store in Glossop (High Street West, formerly Hillards). Therefore on Monday to Saturday their opening times will change from 6am to midnight. Sunday opening hours will be unaffected.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

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

A busy round-up for this month’s despatches.

  • Gleam Limited, whose main occupant is the TESCO Express store on Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne have put in plans for two illuminated billboard signs and an illuminated totem. These will advertise the store’s location, along with three other units, and the Heys Retail Park.
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland in Corporation Street, Hyde, is set to be renamed Williams & Glyn. Planning permission has been put in for new signage and an ATM surround.
  • A new Chinese chippy could be coming to 9 Knowl Street, Stalybridge. Opposite The Bulls Head public house, the applicant wishes to use the ground floor for the sale of Chinese food with the first floor used for living accommodation.
  • ASDA’s main Ashton-under-Lyne store on Cavendish Street could be getting a modular tyre fitting kiosk. This would be the first such facility at Ashton’s ASDA store since their move from Langham Street in April 1989. The plans also include the installation of fascia signs, graphics and lockable poster frames.
  • The former Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Labour Exchange on 69 – 71 Market Street, Stalybridge, could find an occupant after being vacant for over 15 years. If passed, the refurbished unit would include ground floor and basement retail units, plus living accommodation on the first and second floors. At basement level, doors will open out towards the River Tame. It is proposed that 69 could be a coffee shop with 71 becoming a florist.

Retail Movements

  • Santander’s second Ashton-under-Lyne branch (formerly Abbey and the N&P before then) has left The Ladysmith Centre for its newly refurbished unit on the corner of Old Street and Warrington Street (formerly Bradford and Bingley). The nearest cash machine to Ashton-under-Lyne bus station is the outdoor one at Family Shopper on Wellington Road. As for the closest indoor one, Poundland or Halifax in the Arcades Shopping Centre. Both of which are free.
  • Sticking with the Arcades Shopping Centre, Bank has closed, with the neighbouring Trespass shop due for closure.
  • In the last three months, we have missed a few other movements in Ashton. Firstly, the former Burton unit on Old Square is now the Warsaw Polish supermarket. It sells a good range of Polish food with a deli counter at one end of the store. The former Bowker’s unit on Penny Meadow is now the Polish Hair Shop.
  • Over on Old Street, the Resham Collection has opened for business as a fashion boutique.
  • New to Stalybridge is the Colorz Hair Salon. Situated in the former Hayloft club, it began its first week of trading on the 01 February.
  • We have also seen the closure of Stalybridge’s branch of New Charter Housing Trust’s Home and Community Hub. All enquiries will be taken at offices in Ashton, Denton and Hyde.

Pub and club update

Over the last fortnight, the Stalybridge Labour Club on Acres Lane has been closed. We can reveal that the club has changed hands and will be a going concern. By the time you have read this, there’s every chance you’ll see the Under New Management signs on the lounge window.

Definitely closed, complete with To Let sign on the front is The River Bank on Crescent Road junction, Dukinfield. Whether the pub will reopen yet again remains to be seen, though depubification seems par for the course. (It is advertised for use as a private dwelling or a public house).

Around the same time as the Labour Club’s temporary closure, No. 71 on Mottram Road, Stalybridge. Possible conversion to apartments, I wager…

We also have some news on the Alexander Club on Oldham Road. In a previous Ashton Review of Shops, we mentioned the club’s downsizing to smaller premises nearby. The commodious building is set to become a bigger restaurant for Lily’s. The vegetarian restaurant, next to Ashton Sweet Mart, has had rave reviews in the local and national press. It has become a popular haunt for local diners with tables increasingly booked up.

Their move could see the restaurant’s popularity soar, thanks to the eventual reopening of Tameside Hippodrome. Not least its proximity to the Metrolink station, The Witchwood, and local shops. On Wednesday [03 February], the Manchester Evening News gave Lily’s a glowing report.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

More progress on Ashton’s open market? A new occupant for Unicorn? All could be revealed here, same bat time, same channel.

S.V., 06 February 2016.


2 thoughts on “Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, February 2016: The Ashton Review of Shops

Add yours

    1. Hi Mark,

      A real shame about the No. 71. I never went whilst it was in this guise, though from what I saw off the photos, it looked superb. The last time I went, it was still a Conservative Club.

      As an Indian restaurant, I would assume little modification besides kitchen facilities. Parking facilities, similarly so. There was supposed to be plans for an Indian restaurant in the former Reporter offices, so I wonder if this is a second one, or the sponsors of the Reporter office scheme?

      Yet the potential was there for No. 71’s success. I would have liked to have seen more soul nights, or anything that celebrated The Bower Club musically (which was only 2 minutes uphill on the 236/237 buses). Did they hire it out for meetings? The location would have been suitable for corporate away days. Plus the scope for a walk to Chew Reservoir from Wild Bank for team building exercises – or orienteering in Cheetham’s Park.

      Bye for now,



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