Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, February 2018: The Ashton Review of Shops

Our second window on the shop windows for 2018, and it doesn’t make for good reading in parts

Bargain Buys, Warrington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne
A soggy Ashton-under-Lyne in January 2015, taken with a budget priced digital camera (of 1999 vintage).
  • More store closures;
  • Stalybridge to lose branch of Yorkshire Building Society;
  • All the usual comings and goings in the Tameside area.

2018 is only 34 days old and has up to now been dominated by store closures and bank closures. Two of which in Stalybridge, one to follow in Denton, and one in Ashton-under-Lyne. A leading chain store is set to move out of town.

Retail goings rather than comings?

In the last month alone we have seen two closures. Firstly the closure of Stalybridge’s branch of Lloyd’s Pharmacy on Melbourne Street. The pharmacy occupied the former George Dean Beds unit after moving from smaller premises two doors away. Of particular note to historians is the ‘dead sign’ advertising Burgon’s grocery shop and a tiled floor with an elephant.

Another closure we have seen is The Body Shop‘s unit in Ashton-under-Lyne. The ethically aware cosmetics purveyor closed the doors of its Arcades branch at 1pm on the 13 January. By the time you have read this, Wonderland’s Christmas shop will have left the Arcades Shopping Centre. According to one source a retail bank could be taking on the unit but which one? Would it be an existing one making a move from Stamford Street? Or could it be a completely new addition?

Speaking of access to customer facing financial outlets, the Yorkshire Building Society has given notice of their closure programme. On their list is the Stalybridge branch on Melbourne Street, which is opposite the now closed Lloyd’s Pharmacy. This will close on the 16 March due to restructuring. The building society is pulling out providing current accounts and focusing more on mortgages.

By the close of last month, Marks and Spencer has announced details of store closures. Tameside is more or less in the firing line with Denton’s M&S Outlet proposed for closure. A similar fate will affect the Marks and Spencer store in Merseyway Shopping Centre, Stockport.

Let them eat chocolate cake

You cannot fault a good cake. Ashton-under-Lyne is a veritable mecca of the fattening yet delicious edible with Lilly’s Patisserie being one dependable source. Just to add more choice for the borough’s cake lovers, Tameside MBC’s Cake and Craft Market has been in full swing since May 2017. It takes place on the third Saturday of the month from 9am to 2pm on the open market ground.

TAC tales

Over the last month, Carillion’s well documented problems have dominated the news agenda. Particularly the company’s involvement with PFI funded projects. Locally this has affected the Joint Service Centre project and facilities management contracts.

So far, work on the Son of TAC is still continuing. As for the council buildings where Carillion staff have been employed, most of them are still owned by Tameside MBC. And have remained so since the Tameside Investment Partnership contract was signed in 2010.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

Slightly busier than last month. What could the latest epicurean addition to Ashton Moss Leisure Park be this time?

Polite Note: for reasons of brevity, any pub and club applications come under the Pub and Club Update section.

  • Behind McDonalds on Ashton Moss Leisure park, plans have been made for a new eatery with outdoor seating.
  • Magic Pizza on 16 Mottram Road, Stalybridge have applied to keep their cash machine and illuminated signage.
  • A former convenience store on the corner of Ladbrooke Road and Kings Road could be converted into first floor and ground floor flats.
  • The former Cottage public house – lastly used as offices for Automoney, could be converted into a multiple occupation residential property.
  • Morrisons’ Denton superstore could be getting an office building for a car collection company.

Retail Movements

  • Further to the closures noted in the main text, Argos’ branch in the Arcades Shopping Centre will be moving to Ashton Moss. From the 21 March it will be moving to the town’s Sainsburys store. This is in line with its Oldham branch which made a similar move weeks after Sainsburys’ acquisition of the catalogue shopping based giant.
  • A new addition to Stalybridge is the Deli Felice bistro on Market Street. The patisserie and bistro aims to offer an upmarket dining option with views of the River Tame from the rear.

Pub and club update

Halfway through the last month, The Chapel House on Astley Street, Dukinfield has closed its doors. Before 2007, Astley Street had seven pubs: The Old General, The Newborough, The Commercial, The Gardeners’ Arms, Chapel House, Astley Arms, and The Globe. Today, only two remain: they are The Commercial and the Astley Arms (The Bottom Astley).

In the last week, The Prince of Orange on Warrington Street is looking for “an experienced licensee with a passion for cask ales”. The guide rent is £20,000 per annum for a one-year tenure. Further down the road, The Caledonia could be seeing new people. Robinson’s Brewery, like its sister pub we have mentioned, is letting it out for a one-year tenure. The lease is £17,000 per annum and the pub, according to Robbies’ website “could offer entertainment or themed nights to encourage customers to stay longer”.

We can reveal that Tapsters will be Ashton-under-Lyne’s micropub. Owned by the same licensee as The Bowling Green, it has probably opened by the time you have read this. As for The Duke of Sussex in Newton, its depubification could be made complete with a plan to convert the pub into flats.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

What will March bring? Tune in to our latest episode on the 03 March 2018, 9am sharp.

S.V., 03 February 2018.

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