This month’s window on the shop windows
- Ashton busks for the homeless;
- Dukinfield takes the iTrain;
- Queues outside Denton’s new Wilko store.
January has been a fairly mixed bag in terms of retail movements on what is a quiet month. Livening up the streets of Ashton late last month was a few all-round good guys on Warrington Street.
We Shall Overcome: Busk For The Homeless
In Ashton on the 28 January, a group of local musicians on Warrington Street were busking for a noble cause. Known as Busk For The Homeless, this was part of the nationwide We Shall Overcome campaign. For the best part of the afternoon, buskers not only entertained shoppers. They also reminded them of the problems of homelessness and how changes to the Social Security system have exacerbated these trends.
The group raised £202 for We Shall Overcome. Much of the work for Tameside’s campaign is due to Pauline Town, who runs The Station public house at the bottom of Warrington Street. In the last decade, the pub has raised money for persons facing destitution and local charities. They have held collections for local foodbanks. With real ale at affordable prices and a social conscience, The Station pub should be one of your first stops on an Ashton pub crawl. Or a quiet drink. Or a not-so-quiet drink with some cracking local bands.
Take The iTrain
At the end of January, the William Andrew Swimming Baths in Dukinfield reopened as the iTrain fitness centre. As well as offering 24 hour access to state-of-the-art gym equipment (members only of course), Active Tameside’s latest addition also has a soft play centre and a café. Though there’s been positive feedback from recent visitors, the swimming pool is sorely missed by some people (on social media websites).
For the lowdown on iTrain, their spiffy new website has full details on the facility, from equipment to timetabled sessions. You can either buy a £5.00 day pass or become a fully-fledged member at £17.99 per month. The 340 and 343 buses stop outside the centre. For a modest walk down Birch Lane from the Albion Hotel stop, the 41 and 346 buses are a good option.
Wilko’s Way into Crown Point North
On the 23 January, hundreds of shoppers queued outside Denton’s new Wilko store on Crown Point North retail park. The store’s opening saw people queueing for freebies and prizes. There was also free hot chocolate, tying in with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed promotion and a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon by Philip Fitzpatrick, the Mayor of Tameside.
A representative for the Alzheimer’s Society was presented with a cheque. It was also a memorable day for the store manager, Phuong Thu. The now closed Hyde branch is available at an annual rent of £77,500 (available on application) as a leasehold tenure.
TAC Tales: Update on the Joint Service Centre and Open Market
The first steel frames of the Joint Service Centre have been erected, on the sections facing Warrington Street and Wellington Street. Earlier last month, the stairwells were added.
Work is now under way of the focal piazza element of the open market ground. Just to reiterate, this will be used for live events and temporary stalls. Part of the piazza will include a seating area and play equipment.
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.
- Changes to Lidl’s plan to remodel its Ashton store, will see a change to its external materials schedule. These are expected to be finalised next month.
- Plans to change totem signage at the Denton and Ashton branches of Sainsburys have been submitted.
- The former Moody Cow Unit on 79 Market Street, Hyde could be converted to a takeaway with an extension to its opening hours.
- Dukinfield could have another high octane indoor attraction close to iTrain. Just off the Albion Hotel bus stop could be the Breakout Challenge leisure unit. This will occupy the former Nelson Unit works, taking on Units 9 and 10 of Victoria Works. For more information on this facility, visit their website which includes online booking facilities.
- The Crown Point Cycles unit on 50, Stockport Road, Denton could see a change of use into a café.
- Also in Denton, plans have been submitted for ‘pop-up’ food and drink facilities. Could this be a food court but name? With the way Crown Point North is shaping, Denton could become Tameside’s second most important retail centre, eclipsing Hyde.
- Tree works are planned for the Tesco filling station in Stalybridge.
- The P&B Shop on 164 Oldham Road, could be extended southwards to its neighbouring unit . Living accommodation above the two units will be upgraded with a loft conversion facing eastwards.
- From our observations, World of Scooters on Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne seems to have closed. In a previous edition of The Ashton Review of Shops, we noted the addition of a coffee shop at the back of the showroom.
Pub and club update
Another mixed bag of developments on the Tameside pub scene.
The Shepherds Call in Hyde could see its Greenalls era signage replaced by some standard issue Punch Taverns signs. This will include four poster cases and new lettering. New signs are also proposed for the West End Conservative Club on Welbeck Street South.
Soon, there could only be two pubs between Matley Lane and Stocks Lane along Mottram Road. Should plans be approved, The Dog and Partridge in Mottram Rise could be next in line for depubification. There are plans to convert the public house into three three bedroom apartments. Its car park could form part of a new street with six new-build semi-detached houses with four bedrooms.
Since 2010, this section of Mottram Road (including part of Stocks Lane) has seen a 60% drop in pubs and clubs with The Sportsman now an estate agents. The Hare and Hounds is the Hawthorn Art Gallery, whereas the former Conservative Club and No.71 is awaiting conversion to apartments.
On a happier note, the Bridge Beers micropub is set to celebrate its first year of business with a special event on the 24 and 25 February.
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All the latest movements over the shortest month of the year. Tune into next month’s saga at the same bat time, same channel.
S.V., 04 February 2017.