Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, April 2017: The Ashton Review of Shops

This month’s window on the shop windows

Warrington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne

  • Ashton arrivals and departures;
  • ‘Spoons’ Stalybridge expansion;
  • NatWest to close Droylsden branch;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements.

A real contrast to last month, but some activity at the Arcades and Ladysmith shopping centres have set the agenda.

C is for Cookie (or Ciabatta?)

Over the last week, there has been a new addition to the Arcades Shopping Centre: Bap. As the name suggests, they are a chain of sandwich shops. Their freshly made subs are cheaper than Subway’s efforts (and yes, you get a bit of the old Sandwich Inquisition). The branch in Arcades Shopping Centre has already been well received.

Founded in 2005, they are also a Greater Manchester success story with franchise. Their first branch was on George Street, Altrincham (which yours truly used to visit whilst working there). They also have branches in Bury, Wigan, Stockport, and Warrington, and have set their sights on a possible branch in Manchester city centre.

As well as savoury treats, there will also be a selection of sweet treats including cookies. This is the stock in trade of Millie’s Cookies. They were formed in 1985 as a family owned company. Now owned by SSP (Select Service Partner), they are a familiar sight in many of the UK’s principal railway stations. Ashton’s branch will be their first one east of the M60 motorway and one of six in Greater Manchester. By the time you have read this, their branch should be close to opening in The Ladysmith Centre.

Bank closures: update

Over the last few months, we have learned about NatWest’s proposed closures in Denton and Uppermill. The aforementioned branches are due to close in the middle of June. Adding to the list will be Droylsden’s NatWest branch in October. It is claimed that more customers have chosen to bank online, which has resulted in fewer customers popping into their Queen’s Walk branch.

TAC Tales: Update on the Joint Service Centre and Open Market

Steady progress with the construction of the Joint Service Centre. Slow progress on the public realm part of the open market ground.

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 your round this time).

This month, slightly busier than the last.

  • The BP petrol filling station in Mottram-in-Longdendale could be remodelled. Plans have been submitted for the demolition of existing facilities and their eventual replacement. This will entail the addition of a new sales building, an indoor cash machine (good!) and the replacement of its car wash with two jet washing points (not so good).
  • New signage and a new shop front will be added to the Warrington Street branch of McDonalds. This will be decked in dark green with illuminated lettering and golden arches. The right of the entrance will see the addition of a flat LCD screen for its menus.
  • The former BHS unit on Crown Point North, Denton, could be split into two units. This will include the extension of a mezzanine floor. Occupants have already been pencilled in with Flannels set to take the ground floor of the smaller unit. The larger unit will have two floors, with the ground floor and an extended mezzanine floor for Sports Direct. (If you have been to their present branch, it is pretty cramped in the church jumble sale sense).
  • Newtons Bingo and Slots on Market Avenue, Ashton-under-Lyne. could see a new more unified shop front. These will have the Admiral Casino signage along the length of their units.
  • The former Howe Design studio on Ashton Road, Droylsden, could be converted to a dispensing chemist.

Retail Movements

  • The Unicorn gym, recently reopened, has added a gift shop known as All Things Unique. Entry to the shop is made via the gymnasium’s entrance.
  • Perfect Home, the usurious pay weekly store chain has vacated its unit in the Ladysmith Shopping Centre. Customer accounts can be settled online or at their Oldham and Stockport branches.
  • Ashton’s new JD Sports store will open in May. Shopfitters have started work on the new unit in the Arcades Shopping Centre.
  • Max Spielman on Mercian Way, Ashton-under-Lyne, has stopped opening on Sundays.
  • Thanks to our Denton and Audenshaw correspondent, we have found out that the Trade Deals ceramic tiles showroom on Guide Lane could be closing. During the 1980s, it was best known for being Smith Knight Fay’s showroom, though originally the Stamford Cinema.

Pub and club update

Since our last bulletin, plans to redevelop the former Bay Horse site have been approved. Could the convenience store, alongside its two smaller retail units and car parking, be one of a new generation of Co-op stores?

The extension of The Society Rooms in Stalybridge is under way. In a previous edition of The Ashton Review of Shops, we knew of plans to extend into the former Ethel Austin unit. This would entail an extended kitchen, bigger toilets, and an outdoor seating area. The last addition would keep this part of Grosvenor Square free of smokers.

With plans to extend The Ash Tree into the former billiard hall site, there has also been talk of The Engine Room upping sticks. Whatever happens, we shall keep you informed.

The long-closed Moss Tavern on Ashton Road, Droylsden, will finally see its depubification, if plans to demolish the house are approved. In its place would be twenty apartments and a Spar convenience store. Though another loss to the pub world, it is living proof of how the Metrolink has affected Droylsdonian property values.

Plans have once again been submitted for the conversion of Newton Liberal Club into apartments. There has been previous plans, but the revised plans are modest, with the former club converted into a single one bedroom flat, and a single two bedroom flat.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

How much more of the open market ground will be finished? Will there be more pubs going the way of dinosaurs and our continued membership of the EU? All will be revealed by the 06 May, when our next Ashton Review of Shops shall be released.

S.V., 01 April 2017.

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