Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, February 2019: The Ashton Review of Shops

This month’s window on the shop windows

  • Ashton Central Library move under way;
  • Pub management merry-go-round;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements.

Ashton Central Library begins move to Tameside One

By the time this month’s issue of The Ashton Review of Shops has hit the presses, today [02 February 2019] marks the end of an era for Ashton Central Library. At 3pm today, its collection of reference and non-reference books will begin their move to new premises at Tameside One.

The iconic neo-Gothic library, built using monies bequeathed by George Heginbottom J.P., was designed by John Eaton and Sons. Other buildings designed by the same architect include Dukinfield Town Hall. Following the library’s move, the Old Street building will become offices for 150 staff at Tameside MBC. The Local Studies Library is staying on its present site for the time being.

Due to the library’s transition from Old Street to Warrington Street, its artworks will be moved to the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge. After refurbishment, the art gallery above Stalybridge library will benefit from enhanced opening hours.

The new Ashton Central Library will open on the 04 March 2019. Its new home within Tameside One will be situated inside the former Ashton-under-Lyne Water Works Company offices.

TAC Tales: Update on the Joint Service Centre

By the end of this month, Tameside One will be more or less complete. Tameside College students and lecturers will be the first people to move in, on the 25 February. By March, the Joint Public Service Centre will follow suit alongside Ashton-under-Lyne’s Jobcentre Plus offices.

A TAC Timeline

  • 1979: original TAC building begins construction;
  • 1981: TAC opens with shop units facing bus station and Presto supermarket;
  • 1988: Presto becomes Safeway;
  • 1992: Safeway supermarket closed – lease taken on by Wilkinson Stores Limited;
  • 2000: New Customer Service centre opens at ground level;
  • 2011: TAC building seen as uneconomic to run – plans for new Joint Service Centre mooted;
  • 2016 – 17: demolition of TAC Building – customer service centre functions moved to Clarence Arcade, Stamford Street – offices moved to Dukinfield Town Hall;
  • 2017: construction begins on Joint Service Centre. Original contractors: Carillion, planned opening date of September 2018;
  • 15 January 2018: original contractors Carillion collapse. Construction work delayed – project saved by Robertson Construction Group, albeit at a cost to Tameside MBC finances.
  • December 2018: confirmation of Ashton Central Library’s move – and first use of the Tameside One name;
  • 25 February 2019: Tameside College’s Advanced Skills Centre opens;
  • 04 March 2019: reopening date of Ashton Central Library in new premises;
  • 05 March 2019: Joint Public Service Centre opens – occupants include Citizens’ Advice bureau, Cash Box Credit Union, and Jobcentre Plus;
  • Summer/Autumn 2019?: Wilko relocates from Arcades Shopping Centre to Tameside One.

Further to the development of Tameside One, another piece in the Vision Tameside jigsaw is the partial pedestrianisation of Wellington Road. A section of the road between the Clarendon Sixth Form College and Tameside One will be pedestrianised, allowing for continuous traffic-free walking from the Clarendon building to Ashton town centre.

From the crossing, pedestrians may enter the town centre by walking behind Ashton Town Hall. It is proposed that Penny Meadow’s bus stops may be moved closer towards The Bowling Green for inbound journeys. Also, for outbound buses, stands on Henrietta Street have been proposed. Which may double or triple the transfer time for passengers switching from ‘Spoons to Stagecoach Manchester.

One wonders what will become of Clarence Arcade – or the Jobcentre Plus offices on Old Street.

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…

If you thought the month before was quiet, the last month was quieter still in the local retail world. As for our local pubs, past and present, a different story.

  • Unit 2 of the Lower Wharf Street arches may see a new occupant – the Beehive Fitness gymnasium.
  • In Droylsden, one shop may be moving from head to toe in a literal sense. Hairport on 52 Ashton Road will be changing from a hairdressers to chiropodist. Its new occupant will be Ms Mannion’s Droylsden Chiropodist and Podiatrist.

Retail Movements

  • A tenant has been found for the former Timpson heel bar and key-cutting kiosk in the Ladysmith Shopping Centre. The CBD Store has recently opened, offering customers a range of therapeutic (though legal) cannabis related products.
  • A new addition to Ashton-under-Lyne’s eateries is Cafe 10 on Market Street.
  • By the time you have read this, The Magpie’s Nest will have closed its Ashton-under-Lyne. Situated in the former Body Shop/Allsports unit, the award-winning accessories retailer will be focusing its energies on their Stalybridge store.
  • On Mercian Way, in the Ladysmith Shopping Centre, Hays Travel opened its doors on the 18 January with nibbles available for its customers.

Pub and club update

The end of last month was a merry-go-round of pub movements and fun as four pubs changed hands on the 28 January.

After a brief closure, The Forester on Fir Tree Lane, Dukinfield reopened on the 28th. It is hoped that the pub formerly known as The Viking would start doing food again, for the first time in several years.

Our second of the four pubs – and the second in Dukinfield to change hands – is The Lodge Hotel. Its previous landlords, Peter and Claire Armstrong, left the pub in great hands. As well as its real ales, it has placated both foodies and footie fanatics very well. Their successors will continue Claire’s good in both camps with food being served from 12 midday to 8pm. Great news for lovers of its Sunday Roasts and the two Tameside Quiz League teams (apologies for my vested interest here).

The George and Dragon in Newton changed hands on the same Monday, though its steel boards remained intact. We can tell you that the pub on Bennett Street reopened yesterday [01 February]. Also changing hands the same was The Prince of Orange on Warrington Street. We hope the new managers will continue to offer food and a wide range of Robbies ales.

If you like your beer cheap and your pizzas on a proper plates, the new-look version of The Ash Tree will open on the 19 February. The new-look ‘Spoons will have more seating outdoors than indoors (occupying the former Pyramid billiard hall). Like the swish Stalybridge ‘Spoons, pizza will also be added to the menu.

If you think £2.30 is a bit expensive for a pint of real ale, The Beau Geste is selling Robinson’s Dizzy Blonde and Sharp’s Doom Bar for a stunning £1.80 a pint.

Also of note, the Waterloo and Taunton Conservative Club may be upgrading its clubhouse for their bowling team. The present clubhouse will be demolished with a new, upgraded facility in its place.

The former Cottage public house on Hyde Road, Denton will be converted from its first non-pub use as offices into a House in Multiple Occupation. Also in Denton (Haughton Green to be precise) the former Top House in its present guise as a garden centre, may see the former pub car park and beer garden used for “ancillary retail sales”.

Over in Droylsden, the site of The Moss Tavern on Manchester Road could see a three-storey residential building with 23 apartments.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 02 March 2019 at the usual time of 9am. With the hullabaloo surrounding Tameside One, this could be a cracker. 

S.V., 02 February 2019.

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