August’s window on the shop windows

  • Bridge Beers’ Summertime Success;
  • Poundworld’s demise confirmed;
  • All the usual comings and goings in the Tameside area.
The Commercial, Mossley
Changing Hands: The Commercial Hotel, Manchester Road, Mossley. Image by Mikey, 2012 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved).

What will the previous month be remembered for in future years? England reaching the Semi Finals of the World Cup? The moorland fires which affected half of Tameside’s residents? The warm weather? The first and third points may have brought riches to our publicans but a fair number of pubs are changing hands or disappearing.

This month’s edition of The Ashton Review of Shops has slightly more of a pub theme than usual.

Bridge Beers’ Summertime Success

In the local pub scene, Bridge Beers has been quite a success story. Since 2016, David Bridge’s micro pub has inspired other imitators in the borough which have been acknowledged in The Ashton Review of Shops. Alongside other pubs in Stalybridge, it has been the proud recipient of CAMRA’s Pub of the Season award.

On the 14 July, David Bridge was presented with his award by CAMRA’s High Peak and North East Cheshire branch. The “oasis of peace and tranquility” has won plaudits for its beer as well as convivial atmosphere.


In The Ashton Review of Shops Extra, we looked at Poundworld’s fall from grace and detailed which Tameside branches would close. Within days of the post’s publication came the demise of Poundworld, leaving a significant void in our borough’s retail offer.

Who’s going to take on the former Marks and Spencer unit? Another discounter? The Primark store which some people on social media sites are hoping for? As we say, we shall wait and see.

A novel use of empty units

As online shopping increases in popularity, so does the use of shop units for non-retail purposes. Table Tennis England have come up with a novel idea: free ping pong for the masses.

Known as the Ping Pong Parlour, Table Tennis England have taken on empty shop units from Lands End to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Anyone can call in for a free game of table tennis anywhere in England. Ashton-under-Lyne’s branch of the Ping Pong Parlour is situated in the former Pep and Co unit in the Arcades Shopping Centre. Could we be playing squash in the former Poundworld Plus unit soon?

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; those polite assistants in Screwfix will find you a suitable model.

  • Muldoon and Tonge on 150 Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, have submitted an application for new signage.
  • The first and second floors of Allen’s Fried Chicken 29 Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne could be converted into studio flats. Closed since its recent fire, the purveyor of nutritionally incorrect chicken based edibles could also receive a new shop front.
  • An extension could be added to GymEtc’s premises in Bower Fold. This will accommodate an outdoor heated spa pool, a little closer to the Mottram End of Stalybridge Celtic’s humble abode.
  • A shop unit on 653 Manchester Road, Denton, could become a doggy day care centre.
  • An extra door could be added to David Pluck Bookmakers’ unit on Reddish Lane, Denton.
  • The former Smith and Tetley offices on 23 – 25 Booth Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, could be converted into three apartments and two self-contained studio flats.
  • Retrospective planning permission has been requested for the conversion of Fairbottom Methodist Church on Alt Hill Lane, Park Bridge, into two residential dwellings.

Retail and Leisure Movements

  • With the exception of its Droylsden branch, the Royal Bank of Scotland has closed all its branches in the Tameside area.
  • By the end of this month, Stalybridge’s branch of Lloyds Bank will close.

Pub and club update

Could the future pub in Old Brow, Mossley (see last month’s ARoS) be a replacement for The Commercial Hotel? If the new bar’s plans are accepted this could be the worst case scenario. As reported in the Mossley Correspondent, the pub on Manchester Road is up for sale and worth £300,000. The building also includes two neighbouring vacant shop units. The sale of the freehold excludes Alan and Viv’s Chip Shop which shares the same building.

Ei Publican Partnerships who has placed the pub on the market has seen no long term future for the one-time Bass house. The sale has generated a lot of local interest with applications from parties wishing to run The Commercial as a going concern. The Commercial as a community-run pub could be a neat proposition. It could also be a good brewery tap for Millstone Brewery.

Also on the other side of the 350 bus route, in Hazelhurst, The Junction has changed hands. The pub has been a longstanding entry in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. It was noted for its home made style rag puddings. Its new landlord, Lauren Edwards, had previously worked there for 18 months. Reopening in time for the World Cup Finals, the pub has regained its vibrancy with the outdoor seating area being well monopolised.

Elsewhere, The Warrington on Stamford Street in Cockbrook, could be changing hands or (hopefully not) facing depubification. In the last month we have seen the closure of the Lions Bar on Market Street, Stalybridge.

*                     *                    *

Next Month

Could August be a busy month and will there be any good news on the horizon for our retail scene? Please surprise us. Tune in to our next thrilling episode on the 01 September 2018, 9am sharp. Aye thank you…!

S.V., 04 August 2018.

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