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

This September’s window on the shop windows

  • Sound investment for Stalybridge music school;
  • End of an era for the former Roe Cross Inn;
  • All the usual comings and goings in the Tameside area.
Gay Pride Weekend, Ashton Market style.
Gay Pride Weekend, Ashton Market style: photographed the same weekend as Manchester’s Mardi Gras.

August is traditionally associated with holidays and exam results. For some people a quiet time, part of a lull before the run-up to Christmas. In the sunshine, it has been anything but quiet in the Tameside area.

A sound investment

Over the last year, the loss of retail banks have dominated the Ashton Review of Shops. Particularly in Stalybridge, where the only bank is NatWest’s elegant Melbourne Street branch. Many retail banks and building societies have become offices or retail premises. This week, Stalybridge’s former branch of the Yorkshire Building Society will see a new use. One that will strike a chord with many local shoppers.

Moving a short distance across Melbourne Street, The Music Corner will take over the former building society. Chris Caton-Greasley’s enterprise was hitherto based on 17 Melbourne Street and have outgrown the Stalybridge Town Hub. Their new premises will be officially opened today [01 September]. If you fancy learning to play a musical instrument, tuition is available at realistic prices with a free taster lesson.

Roe Cross Green: the end of an era

Over three and a half years, the former Roe Cross Inn has offered a unique shopping experience as Roe Cross Green. In its short lifespan it had gained a reputation for fine dining and unique gifts. In short, the kind of retail offering which some people expect to see in Stalybridge and Uppermill.

In the last month, Roe Cross Green’s closure was announced with a closing down. Plans have been passed to demolish the 404-year-old former public house, with six houses in its place. The former inn was built in 1616 and owned by the Hollingworth family. It is believed that Bonnie Prince Charlie set up camp there.

Sadly, 404 years of history counts for nothing. In spite of falling property prices (which some commentators apportion the blame on Brexit), Greater Manchester’s property market seems to be in rude health. Needless to say, its demolition and historical significance has angered residents on the Stalybridge Correspondent website.

Summer fun in Tameside

Regular readers of the Ashton Review of Shops would recognise one thing about our posts underneath this banner. We are here for the nice things too, besides seeing to blocked drains, broken windows or pub closures (O.K., we lied about the blocked drains and broken windows: that was the Yellow Pages’ job).

Over the last month, two events have pulled crowds towards our borough’s town centres. On the 18 August, Ashton-under-Lyne celebrated Man’s Best Friend with a canine themed Saturday event. With adorable doggies, huskies, and service dogs, and a bit of fundraising along the way.

On the following Saturday (and the Friday before then), a bit of Blackpool came to Droylsden. On Villemomble Square, the Droylsden Town Team gave shoppers Punch and Judy Shows, fairground rides, and donkey rides. There was also face painting, handicrafts, ice cream, a barbecue, and a beach Bar. Near the town’s Wilko store was a climbing wall.

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 next to the sandwiches and pastas at the back of ALDI.

  • A newsagent on 147 Mottram Road, Hyde, close to The Sportsman public house, could be converted into a house.
  • Part of the former Carpet Right unit on 18 – 28 Stockport Road, Denton could be Tameside’s second branch of Papa Johns. If approved, look out for assorted Spidermen, members of The Incredibles and Captain Americas peddling pizzas on Crown Point. Unlike The Heys Retail Park branch off Mossley Road, there will be a modest indoor seating area.
  • Another part of the former Carpet Right unit could be subdivided into two units. One of them, a tanning salon with the other being a takeaway.
  • As part of the ongoing refurbishment works at Dukinfield’s Morrisons store, plans have been submitted for the replacement and rebranding of external advertisement signage.
  • Stamford Street Methodist Church in Ashton-under-Lyne could become a print finishing office for G5 Design. As for the neighbouring older church building next door, it was supposed to be converted to flats (any answers are appreciated).
  • Plans have been approved for the conversion of Lucas Rogerson’s offices (159 Stamford Street, Ashton-under-Lyne) into a hairdressing salon. The owner, Tracey Edwards, already has a salon on Stamford Street (The Hair Studio) which she will be moving from. Her new unit will be bigger.
  • A dry cleaning concession could be coming to the Hyde branch of Morrisons. The Sunlite concession may be placed in a separate kiosk between the store’s surface area car parks.
  • 81 Knowle Avenue, Ashton-under-Lyne could have a dog grooming business.
  • New illuminated signs could be coming to Wren’s unit on Unit 4, Snipe Retail Park.

Retail and Leisure Movements

  • About to land on Mercian Way by the time you have read this is NS Travel. This will occupy the former NS Newsagents unit, previously let to Precinct Jewellers in the 1980s.
  • A fresh new look has been added to Shelley’s Deli in Ashton-under-Lyne. With internal and external refurbishment, the Old Street sandwich shop has reopened as The Food Squad.
  • The Anthony Seddon Charity Shop corner unit on Bow Street/Old Street (Ashton again, folks), is now the home of LTC Photographic Studio.

Pub and club update

Whereas The Roe Cross Inn could be gone by next year, depubification awaits the fate of The Flowery Field Pub. At one time, the pub would have quenched the thirst of millworkers from the nearby Ashton mill. The pub has survived closure in 2014, though has soldered on up to now. If the pub goes for good, residents on Inkerman Street and Furnace Street would have to walk to The George and Dragon, or to Hyde town centre.

The saga of the delayed Ash Tree extension work has reached a new chapter. This time with plans submitted for its proposed outdoor seating area (occupying the former billiard hall site). Changes to the popular pub will see the addition of exits from the front (Family Area) and back seating areas, leading to the beer garden. With 5,005 square feet of space, it will more than double the pub’s size. Furthermore, probably the most smoker-friendly ‘Spoons on this side of Greater Manchester with the addition of a canopy at its Wellington Road end.

The recently closed Brit Stop on 26 Melbourne Street (The Friendship in old money by the way) could see the conversion of the first floor managers’ flat and former function room into three one bedroom apartments. Depubification could loom with an off-licence in place of the pub at ground level.

In Droylsden, The Pig on the Wall could see the erection of a new timber entrance pergola and a new wheelchair ramp.

*                     *                    *

Next Month

Could September be a scorching month for shoppers as well as sun worshippers? Will there be a new occupant for the former Marks and Spencer unit latterly used by Poundworld Plus? Tune in to our next thrilling episode on the 06 October 2018, 9am sharp.

S.V., 01 September 2018.

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