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

July’s window on the shop windows

Welcome to Ashton-under-Lyne
Walls Come Tumbling Down: By the time you have read this, the whole of the TAC building would have gone by now. Image by Terry Madeley, 2016. (Creative Commons License: Some Rights Reserved)
  • Magpie’s Nest moves to new premises;
  • Old Forge to close after nearly 50 years;
  • Plus the usual retail changes in the Tameside area.

June was pretty quiet with two possible factors. One being the European Championships, and another being uncertainty around the EU Referendum. In the end, Team England bowed out of the Euros 2016 in France losing to Iceland. This being days after Britain voted to leave the European Union (52% Leave, 48% Remain; in Tameside, 61% Leave, 39% Remain).

Magpie’s Nest moves to new premises

The popular accessories shop in Stalybridge, Magpie’s Nest, has moved to new premises. Compared with their first shop on Armentieres Square, their new premises has twice as much floor space. They have taken over the Forever Yours unit, vacated last month.

Of recent additions to Stalybridge’s retail scene, the Magpie’s Nest is one of the town’s most successful businesses. Formed in early 2012, they have fantastic local support which has been helped by good local press on social media, local radio and local newspapers.

Old Forge downs tools

On Waterloo Road, Stalybridge, The Old Forge furniture shop is set to close after nearly 50 years of trading. Starting out as a discount shop on Market Street, the Pickering family diversified into furniture polishing and reproduction furniture sales. In spite of recessions and high unemployment in the 1980s and 1990s, Trevor and Moira Pickering’s shop weathered the worst of the financial climate and continued to thrive. In 1993, they took on a second unit – on Waterloo Road in the former Shoeing Forge.

In 2007, co-founder Trevor Pickering passed away. By then, the business continued to trade with Moira and their son, Daniel. After Moira’s retirement in 2010, Daniel’s wife, Carrie, took her place seven years later. The ship was steadied, but recent economic downturns proved challenging. After flogging their guts off, Daniel and Carrie have decided to set up home in Anglesey.

The Old Forge is set to close by the end of summer. Details of their closing down sale will be announced in due course. At this moment, Daniel and Carrie will accept any sensible offers for existing stock. We wish them well on their move to North Wales.

Ashton Market and TAC demolition updates

At this time of writing, most of the new open market stalls have been erected. The last of the covered stalls have yet to arrive. From recent observations, the paving on the southern end of the open market has been laid up to the temporary fencing by the roundabouts. By the time you’ve read this, the new covered stalls should be up.

Progress on the TAC building’s demolition has stepped up a few gears, with the demolition work continuing beyond the June deadline. A lot of the demolition work has taken place on Saturday Night/Sunday Morning and Sunday Night/Monday Morning. At this time of writing, most of the tower facing The Prince of Orange and the railway station has gone.

Shortly after last month’s bulletin went to press, we learned of how one of the demolition cranes had cracked the town hall walls (oops).

Tameside retail changes

Within a month of our last Ashton Review of Shops, the Polish grocery shop Zodiak, in the former Prime Time Recruitment unit has closed. Also in Ashton, a familiar name is set to occupy the second split unit next to Ethel Austin: Meek’s shoe shop.

The Chinese chip shop on Penny Meadow is open again as Sue’s Chinese Take Away. It has been extensively refurbished inside with a chrome look supplanting the yellow tiles.

The Chilli Tree unit on Market Street, Stalybridge (which was closed for a short period) is back in business. This time, it has been refurbished and renamed as The Filling Station. We at East of the M60 hope to deliver a verdict on their bacon and sausage muffins before long.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

Polite Note: for reasons of brevity, any pub and club applications come under the Pub and Club Update section. You know the drill (and it’s going to cost me a bit more than a tenner thanks to Brexit)…

  • Century House on the corner of Union Street and Market Street in Hyde will see its first and second floors converted into apartments.
  • The health club on Denton Road, Audenshaw, is set to be demolished. A new build project of thirteen apartments will take its place.
  • Storage space for a takeaway at 137 – 139 Market Street, Hyde, could become a single storey flat with access from the rear yard.
  • The Old Chapel building on Oaken Clough housing the Eldoncross offices will be converted to a hair and beauty salon.
  • The Works bookshop is set to take over part of the Tesco Homeplus unit on Crown Point North retail park, Denton.
  • Plans have been put in by the E Cig Emporium on 17, Wood Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, for a conversion from shop premises to hot food takeaway.
  • The plans are also in for Ashton-under-Lyne’s new bus station. The signage facing Wellington Road and the Arcades Shopping Centre will read Tameside Interchange. The final design will have fourteen stands, five of which be satellite stands on either side of the tram terminus, with one double-sized stand.

Pub and club update

The biggest story is the reopening of The George and Dragon on Bennett Street, Newton. As well as its sporting traditions (Crown Green Bowls outside as well as BSkyB and BT Sport), it has trumpeted its real ale credentials. There is also a real ale club night on Mondays.

Plans have been put in place for the installation of a fire escape at The New Inn on Birch Lane, Dukinfield. The new fire escape will lead to the first floor which will be accessed by three steps. At present, the wall-mounted Robinsons signage and lettering have gone, which implies depubification. With the proposed fire escape, does this mean reopening and refurbishment is in progress?

With the future of The New Inn in limbo, the Q in Stalybridge has reopened with new management. With live music back on the agenda, a case of “business as usual”. With the possible opening of The Stalybridge Tavern, we could be seeing A Son of StalyVegas in motion – though attracting a more mature clientele aged 30 years and upwards.

In Denton, the declubification of the Denton Independent Social Club is set to be completed. On Grosvenor Street, opposite the M67 motorway, the social club will face demolition with four two bedroom bungalows and two three bedroom houses in its place.

Partial demolition and refitting of the Old General public house in Dukinfield has begun. After an eighteen month delay, its conversion to offices is under way. In a similar context, the recently closed Gardeners Arms on Stockport Road, Denton, will be converted into two ground floor shop units with two flats above.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Will we see the first foundations of the Son of TAC in place? Will the last remaining covered stalls be up by the start of August? All will be revealed. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.

S.V., 02 July 2016.


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

Add yours

  1. I find it vaguely interesting that the New Inn’s hanging sign is still there. All other branding removed but still the sign (with Robinsons logo at the top) remains. The pub is also still listed on the Robinsons website although it’s Facebook page has gone. If refurbishment you would expect some signs in the window – although that may depend if it’s getting new managers and the old have left in a huff!

    Notably as well, the Duke of Sussex in Newton is now to be auctioned. Wonder who will buy it. And why.


  2. New management at the Prince of Orange too. The gang including the carvery there before now at the Dog and Partridge on Oldham Road.


    1. Hi Malcolm,

      Under the previous people, the food was very good. A real shame to see them go, especially as the Prince of Orange has been refurbished to great expense. Is there any assurance the new owners will continue to serve food, or will it revert to being a wet trade pub? If the latter case, a waste of a great pub.

      Bye for now,



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