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

This month’s window on the shop windows

No time to say hello/goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm LATE
“No time to say hello/goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m LATE”: an image of Warrington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. Photographed by Mikey in Easter 2015 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved).
  • Market delays hindering trade?
  • Ashton-under-Lyne rail engineering works;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements.

After last month’s lull, a fairly tumultuous month.

Market mutterings

On the social media sites, the delays to the reconstruction of Ashton Open Market have been met with some ire. In the last year, the stall layout has attracted criticism from traders and shoppers alike. Some taking their business elsewhere, thanks to their opinions of the retail offering inside and outside.

We have noticed a drop in the number of traders occupying the open market stalls. Firstly, the remodelling of the open market, repaving and stalls have taken longer than we have liked. With recent diversions due to Son of TAC, the first thing visitors to Ashton see instead of the market is the contractors’ containers. Which obscure the stalls. As a causal effect of the diversions, few people are willing to walk the extra few yards to the market hall from bus stops on westbound buses to Ashton-under-Lyne town centre.

With the addition of rent reviews and reduced footfall, some traders are moving out of Ashton Market. Reputedly five at the last count from some sources. There’s even talk of a discount store leaving their unit to concentrate on its out-of-town sister on the Snipe Retail Park.

We remember how little time it took to add the previous stalls in 1993. About six months. Where were the temporary stalls? Along Market Street and Fletcher Street, like the Christmas Markets. That would have made a positive impact on trade, though it would have meant a separate site for seasonal markets. A short term inconvenience, though better than present arrangements.

On the other hand, we hope the finished redevelopment work has a positive impact on Ashton-under-Lyne town centre. But there’s only one problem: how many of us will be there to appreciate the handiwork? Will we still be in love with nearby retail parks? Will online shopping have changed the landscape completely with even fewer shops in small towns?

Ashton-under-Lyne railway engineering works

From the 08 – 30 July, Network Rail engineers shall take possession of the Old Lanky Line through Ashton-under-Lyne station. The former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway branch from Stalybridge to Miles Platting will see engineering works and a bus replacement service will run from Stalybridge to Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Victoria station.

Therefore, Mossley and Greenfield passengers will have to change at Stalybridge, where the stopping service will be terminating. From Stalybridge, they can change onto the bus replacement service, or any of Transpennine Express’ trains to Manchester Piccadilly. Alternatively, passengers for Ashton-under-Lyne may be better off catching the 236, 237, 348, 353, and 354 services, changing at the railway station.

The engineering works are part of the electrification programme. Work will include track realignment over Turner Lane, and a new bridge. Soon, the semaphore signals and Ashton Moss signal box will be replaced by colour light signals.

Bank closures: update

The NatWest branches in Denton, Droylsden and Uppermill have closed, alongside the closure of Droylsden’s branch of Lloyds Bank. Cash machines will be blocked and signage will be taken away.

TAC Tales: Update on the Joint Service Centre

More of the same as last month. Slightly more wall panels added though with some added at the Wellington Road end of the building.

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 not a reconditioned one from eBay).

This month, livelier than last month.

  • Hyde’s branch of Domino’s Pizza could see a slight change, with the use of its top two floors being apartments.
  • Jollyes on Ashton Retail Park could have a veterinary surgery. Its proximity to Gourley’s surgery could make for welcome competition.
  • A welcome addition to Snipe Retail Park will be a cash machine and associated signage on the south-western part of Argos Extra.
  • No. 7 Arundel Street, Mossley, is set to return to retail use. Its basement and part of the ground floor will be part of a studio. In its previous guise as a retail unit, it was Fred Wharmby’s hardware store.
  • Plans for a new shopfront on 41 – 47 Market Avenue (Admiral amusement arcade) will see greyed windows.
  • Lewis’ Bookmakers on 5 – 7 Stockport Road, Denton, could become a dog grooming salon. A real change, from betting on to washing Greyhounds.
  • A shop on 4, Ladbrooke Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, could become a bedsit and a one bedroom flat.

Retail Movements

  • The Anthony Seddon Trust charity shop from Old Square to Stamford Street, in the former Arrand and Dyson unit.
  • In the last month, Mission Exit on Oxford Street, Dukinfield, opened for business in the former Nelson Unit premises.

Pub and club update

Halfway through this month, The Society Rooms’ refurbishment and extension into the former Ethel Austin unit should be complete. Work should be completed on the 14 July. At around the same time of its reopening, The Cotton Bale in Hyde will be the first J.D. Wetherspoon pub to close in our borough. The lease from the premises has not been renewed.

Whether this marks the end of Wetherspoons’ presence in Hyde remains to be seen; it is always a busy ‘Spoons. Could they be considering the former Wilko unit opposite NatWest instead?

The Prince of Orange now offers the Robinsons seasonal ales alongside the usual Unicorn for its cask ales. On the minus side, there is no carvery, and the traditional food has been replaced with burgers and hot dogs.

For the time being, The Commercial Hotel on Manchester Road, Mossley, has been closed due to “a serious incident”. Notices have been placed on the front door and front windows reading “closed until further notice”.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 12 August 2017. A bit later than the usual date, but out on East of the M60 for 9am as usual, on a Saturday of course.

S.V., 01 July 2017.

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