This month’s window on the shop windows

Ashton-under-Lyne in the 1960s: captured in postcard form. Image courtesy of Historic Images – Lancashire (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved)

Better late than never. Please note that this month’s ARoS is later than the usual time of the first Saturday of the month (yours truly was otherwise engaged – on holiday that week). Thank you for your patience.

  • Dinosaurs and new look ‘Spoons make up the Stalybridge scene;
  • Co-op returns to Newton;
  • Ashton-under-Lyne rail engineering works update;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements.

Market mutterings (2)

Following on from last month’s opinion/diatribe/rant (delete as appropriate), the last month has seen the loss of the fancy dress stall on the open market end of the Ashton Indoor Market. Curtain Corner has moved to Glossop. We have also seen the loss of D’Oro’s café which, until this summer, was probably the best café on Ashton Market. Not only for its fine food, but also how its meat products were sourced from other stalls on Ashton Market.

A To Let sign has been placed on the rear of B&M Bargains (at the Old Street end). The unit started life as a purpose built supermarket for Savemore, prior to its takeover by Kwik Save. For a short period, it became a Somerfield, prior to becoming Ashton-under-Lyne’s branch of B&M Bargains. It has been made available to let since April 2017 by Cheetham and Mortimer.

The rent is a cool £118,000 per annum with the lease available “due to relocation”. Which means the newest store on Snipe Retail Park. Even so, there would still be a B&M owned shop in the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne. Hull-based freezer centre chain, Heron has been purchased by the Lancastrian discounters, headed by Sir Terry Leahy (late of Tesco).

On a happier note, the newest name in epicurean delights on Ashton Market is the GoHard Kitchen. Neatly positioned for Anytime Fitness on one of the new covered stalls, they also have a second outlet on Wood Street. This is a few doors from Barclays Bank’s rear entrance and World of Scooters’ café.

Ashton-under-Lyne railway engineering works

Following last month’s engineering works, normal service has resumed on the Stalybridge to Miles Platting line via Charlestown. So far, work is under way on the station’s entrance (under a maze of scaffolding just now) and the bridge.

Stalybridge Scene

July has been a busy month for Stalybridge shoppers. As well as the reopening of The Society Rooms, Age UK moved to new premises, opposite its former one. A week after ‘Spoons’ reopening (22 July), Grosvenor Street and Melbourne Street was taken over by dinosaurs. This year’s Dinosaur Invasion was enhanced by the presence of Tameside Voices Choir, Stalybridge Old Band, and the Lancashire Sea Cadets. There was also a vintage vehicle display.

Whilst Tyrannosaurus Rexes and Stegosauruses took to the streets, some people took to the water. On the same day, Stamford Park Boating Lake was reopened. With the leasehold owned by Ridge Hill Big Local Enterprises, a Community Interest Company, new rowing boats and pedal boats have been added. Whether Stamford Belle shall be restored remains to be seen. Great news all the same.

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 (it’s a cordless one powered by hand).

This month, a lot of conversions from business premises to apartments.

  • Plans have been made for the renovation of the former Manchester County Bank building on 57 – 61 Market Street, Stalybridge. Lastly occupied by George Dean, its ground floor retains the tiled mosaic floor from its banking heritage. There are plans to convert the fine building into seven apartments (I hope they keep the mosaic floor: it’ll be rude not to).
  • A Certificate of Lawfulness for an existing use as a dwelling house has been proposed on 6, Kings Road, Higher Hurst. Till the noughties, this was formerly a newsagent.
  • A redundant coach house on Chapel Street, Hyde, could be converted into a medical centre with off-street parking spaces for patients and practitioners.
  • First floor flats have been proposed for 137 – 139 Market Street, Hyde, above Adnan’s Restaurant.
  • A former garage block on Leech Road, Hyde, could be converted into apartments.
  • On 63, Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, plans to convert a shop unit into a house have been approved.
  • On 32, Harrison Street, the former Hudson Academy of Dance and Drama into a 10 dwelling shared house. It was also a former branch of the Stalybridge Industrial Cooperative Society.
  • An empty shop unit next to Grahams and Cheshire Lady hairdressers on 87, King Street in Dukinfield could be a new shop for Nxt Gen Vapours, a purveyor of e-cigs and e-liquids.
  • The former Co-op Late Shop – later Costcutter – on 187 – 193 Kings Road, Hurst, could see its first floor reinstated. Previously damaged by fire, this will feature four flats.
  • 111 Taylor Lane, Denton, could see its retail space extended, also to accommodate a first floor flat.
  • A radio aerial could be added to the Theatre Royal on Corporation Street, Hyde.
  • The barbers shop on 20 Dowson Road, Hyde, could be converted into a two bedroom house.
  • The Denton branch of Sainsburys could be getting some new totem signs.

Retail Movements

  • Papertrail on Warrington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne no longer has PayPoint and Payzone facilities.
  • Age UK on Melbourne Street, Stalybridge, has moved to bigger premises, opposite its previous unit. Prior to becoming a charity shop, it was hitherto a branch of SupaSnaps and before then, a National Coal Board solid fuel showrooms.
  • Bad news for photographers: Boots The Chemist has closed its photo lab and manned counter in its Staveleigh Way branch. Digital photos are now printed on self-service terminals and, at least for the time being, you can still buy a roll of Ilford HP5 for your 35mm or 120 format film camera.
  • There has also been some activity in the former Oaklands unit on Stamford Street. Is there a nice new existing shop we are about to receive?
  • Winelands on Concord Way’s car park off Foundry Street, Dukinfield, has now closed. Often known as John’s Shop, it was a dependable source for discounted booze since the 1970s.

Pub and club update

In Stalybridge, The Society Rooms’ refurbishment was completed on time and opened by Stalybridge and Hyde MP, Jonathan Reynolds. Its extension into the former Ethel Austin unit has almost doubled the size of the premises. Toilets have been tastefully refurbished; the garden area offers alternative seating to outdoor tables on Grosvenor Street. It is also the first ‘Spoons in Greater Manchester – and one of the first in the UK – to serve pizza. On its opening week, there had been reports of food and beer running out, with the pizza being first to go. Retrospective planning permission has been filed for the installation of illuminated lettering.

In Newton, the site of The Bay Horse is marked by a neighbourhood shopping centre. Over the last month, the Co-op opened its doors, making the cooperative retailer’s absence from Newton a brief one. Instead of Unicorn and Hatters Mild, you can order a Costa Coffee from a vending machine. As for its neighbouring units, plans have been proposed to merge two units into a veterinary surgery.

The Commercial Hotel on Manchester Road, Mossley, is still closed. There had also been some activity around The Blazing Rag in Top Mossley. A refurbishment or a depubification? We sincerely hope it’s the former.

Harmers, formerly The Friendship on Melbourne Street, Stalybridge has been closed. This has been due to allegations of its first floor being used to grow cannabis. Occupying the former Pitt and Nelson on Old Street is Kapadokya. It is a coffee pastry and grill house in a Turkish style.

For The Stamford Arms on Huddersfield Road, Heyheads, Stalybridge, toilets could be extended. This will also mean the relocation of its waste storage compound. The former Ko-Ko night club, above five shop units on Melbourne Street, could become five self contained apartments. Needless to say, they will offer superb (slightly restricted) views of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

New toilets could be added to the White Gates Inn. The Samuel Smith house on Manchester Road, Kingston, Hyde will see changes to its beer garden, to accommodate the new facilities.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 02 September 2017. This shall get us back on track to our usual time and date.

S.V., 12 August 2017.

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