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

This month’s window on the shop windows

  • Parking peeves put paid to takings and footfall in Ashton;
  • Tameside’s Christmas countdown;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements, with a holly leaf on top

Stamford Street’s state-of-the-art parking peeves

Dominating the local headlines over the last month is Tameside MBC’s state-of-the-art parking system in Ashton-under-Lyne. Since the start of this month, drivers wishing to park on Stamford Street Central have been compelled to pay for their parking by telephone. Drivers may pay for their parking space by SMS text message, telephone, or a smartphone app.

Though the use of handheld technology is a commendable one, the new system has been deemed by some traders as discriminatory. Especially against older people, who they claim, are less likely to carry a mobile phone. I agree with their claims. This issue could be remedied by on-street vending machines like ‘bog standard’ car parks, albeit with credit and debit card facilities.

Ashton’s parking peeves have made the BBC News website. One trader saw her takings slump by 50%. In the same article, Stalybridge South Conservative councillor Liam Billington, has proposed the addition of alternative payment methods. Perhaps the customer service centre on Clarence Arcade could be a good place for an on-street vending machine.

Nationwide recognition for Magpie’s Nest

Shortly after winning Retailer of the Year Prize at the Pride Of Tameside Awards, there was nationwide recognition for Liz Hanley’s Magpie’s Nest. In the Independent Retail Confederation’s award ceremony in London, Liz picked up a Highly Commended Award for her two shops. Congratulations are in order.

Small Business Saturday

If you are reading this post at 9am on the 01 December, you will find that today is Small Business Saturday. Inspired by the US version which took place a week ago, it celebrates the UK’s independently-owned businesses. Thankfully, the Tameside area does well in that respect with its mix of established names and new concerns.

Falling under the latter category is Cockney Toys. After selling toys and games from their stall on Ashton’s open market, they have now moved into Ashton Market Hall. Just in time for Christmas. Also of note in the same building is Nat’s Bombay Kitchen. According to, it has been rated the Number One restaurant out of 115 in Ashton-under-Lyne. Those 78 five star reviews are thoroughly deserved, especially as the food is affordably priced and compares well with much more expensive eateries.

If you’re looking for some good examples of independently owned retail businesses in Tameside, here’s The Ashton Review of Shops’ own countdown.

  1. Delicatessen: Traditional Foods, Ashton Market Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne;
  2. Butchers: Pearson’s, Ashton Market Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne;
  3. Afternoon Tea: Lily’s Patisserie, Stamford Street Central, Ashton-under-Lyne;
  4. Fine Dining and Wining: Deli Felice, Market Street, Stalybridge;
  5. Indulgent gifts: Magpie’s Nest, Arcades Shopping Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Armentieres Square, Stalybridge;
  6. Charity shopping: The Wooden Canal Boat Society shop, Stamford Street Central, Ashton-under-Lyne;
  7. Mobility equipment: Concord Mobility, Concord Way, Dukinfield;
  8. Greengrocery: 5 A Day, Melbourne Street, Stalybridge;
  9. Art materials and original artwork: The People’s Gallery, Melbourne Street, Stalybridge;
  10. Cheese: Say Cheese, Melbourne Street, Stalybridge;
  11. Craft beers and real ales: The Silly Country, Villemomble Square, Droylsden;
  12. Discount shopping: Vaughan and Lester, Ashworth Street, Denton;
  13. Hot pies: Carrs The Bakers, Mossley Road Ashton-under-Lyne, and Springs Lane, Stalybridge;
  14. Pork pies: Bradley’s Bakery, King’s Road, Hurst;
  15. Model kits and model trains: JRS Models, Market Avenue, Ashton-under-Lyne;
  16. Ethically sourced coffee and yoga: Xyle More Than Coffee, Manchester Road, Hyde (next to B&M and The Food Warehouse);
  17. Greetings Cards: John’s Cards, Melbourne Street, Stalybridge;
  18. Chinese takeaway meals: George’s Chippy, Concord Way, Dukinfield;
  19. Unisex hairdressing: The Cutting Station, Ashton Market Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne;
  20. Oven bottom muffins: Mellor’s Bakery, Stocks Lane, Stalybridge.

If you have any more to add to the list, feel free to comment. Perhaps there could be an Ashton Review of Shops Festive 50 in the near future.

Early Christmas for pampered pets

Our furry and feathered friends will be given an early Christmas present. Firstly, Petz World have taken on the unit at 17 Melbourne Street. The new location was formerly The Music Corner’s shop. Shortly after The Music Corner’s move, Stalybridge Pets and Aquatics moved over from their Grosvenor Street unit. Since the 13 November, they have settled into their new quarters.

In Hyde, Pampered Paws Grooming Salon and Doggy Day Care centre will be moving to more central premises on 30 Market Street. They will move from 71 – 73 Manchester Road, Kingston, to the former Fone Hut shop.

Christmas lights switch-ons

At this time of writing, Hydonians will be celebrating The Most Wonderful Time of the Year later today. The fun begins at 10am with Hyde’s Christmas lights being switched on at 4.15pm. Flicking the switch will be boxer Stacey Copeland, several hours before Tyson Fury’s fight against Deontay Wilder.

In the last month, Christmas lights switch-ons were well supported in Dukinfield, Stalybridge, and Mossley. There were few spare spaces left on Armentieres Square where Dan Hetfield provided musical entertainment beforehand.

Sadly, Ashton’s Christmas lights switch-on had some negative views on social media sites. Some of which criticised the inflatable grotto and the light display. One or two critics may be pointing the finger at Son of TAC.

Other snippets

  • If you work for Home Bargains or Quality Save, or visit their stores on a regular basis, all of their shops will be closed on Boxing Day, giving their staff a much-needed rest;
  • Across the UK on the eve of Black Friday, how many of us went mad for Kevin the Carrot toys, or other members of the family? When yours truly bought Kevin and Kate from the Hyde branch of Aldi, there was already reports of the whole Kevin the Carrot range being sold out in Romiley branch of Aldi, at 8.40 am! At this time of writing, the 1 metre tall Kevin the Carrot has gone for £99.99 on eBay;
  • Well away from our radar (though Tameside is well within Manchester’s travel to work area), Kendal Milne and Co’s iconic Deansgate store has been saved from closure. Any fears that Mike Ashley would turn Manchester’s outpost of House of Fraser into a giant Sports Direct have been quashed.

TAC Tales: Update on the Joint Service Centre

Slowly but surely, the Joint Service Centre is nearing completion. On the 17 October 2018, the Manchester Evening News stated that Unite has called on the government to deliver a full public inquiry into previous builders Carillion. The project, under Phase Two of Vision Tameside, should have cost £37 million to complete. Latest figures have been quoted at £64 million.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

Polite Note: for reasons of brevity, any pub and club applications come under the Pub and Club Update section. You know it makes sense…

As Bjork said in 1995… a bit quiet.

  • The former Primary Internet and Norcomm offices on 156 Oxford Street West, Guide Bridge could be converted into studio flats.
  • In the continued saga of the Son of TAC, some changes have been made to its first floor plans. A change of use application has been submitted for part of the floor, from offices to financial and professional services. This part of the Joint Service Centre entails the co-location of Ashton-under-Lyne Jobcentre Plus, on behalf of the DWP.

Retail Movements

  • Pampered Paws’ forthcoming move to 30 Market Street, Hyde.
  • Petz World’s move to 17 Melbourne Street, Stalybridge.

Pub and club update

The former Listons public house on Cheetham Hill Road has changed hands. Until recently it was one of Raja Bros’ convenience stores, alongside the former Newborough Inn on Astley Street. In the last fortnight, we have found that both supermarkets are trading under the Premier fascia.

Of late, The Astley Arms on Chapel Hill, Dukinfield has seen a change of management. This time with live music on most Saturday nights. Recent bands have included Cry Havoc, whom your dependable scribe has had the joy of seeing last Saturday. The Unicorn ale was on fine form.

By the time you have read this, Tweed Two should be open on High Street East in Glossop. If you’re at a loose end today [01 December], Four Kings Brewery will be having an open day starting at 1.30pm. All you need to do is send Four Kings Brewery a message on Facebook. Entry is via the Lodge Street entrance of Newton Moor Industrial Estate (Buses: 343, 346, 389).

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 05 January 2019 at the usual time of 9am. Before we go, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers. 

S.V., 01 December 2018.

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