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

This month’s window on the shop windows

  • Update on Tameside One: the Tameside Central Library;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements from Woolley Bridge to Denton’s West End.

A quick peek through Ashton’s new Central Library

After two and a half years and a few weeks, the man behind Ashton Review of Shops has finally paid a visit to the new Tameside Central Library. The new facility is swish, airy, and well lit. Like its predecessor, there is still a separate room for hosting lectures, live poetry readings, and story telling events.

Access to the Central Library is gained via a side entrance. We at Ashton Review of Shops hoped they used one of the doors on the former Ashton-under-Lyne Water Board building. As it a little hard to find for less eagle-eyed pedestrians, this little graphic below may be of help.

Though HRH Prince Charles may have kittens at the lack of an obvious public entrance, it is easy to find most books once in the library. The first thing that awaits the borrower is a couple of self-issuing terminals prior to reaching the desk. Its computer terminals and reference area is integrated within the main library itself. The public toilets are well within the library proper, making for a shorter walk than its predecessor.

Unlike Tameside’s other recently co-located libraries, there is plenty of space between bookshelves. At Hyde for example, space between the computer terminals and some bookshelves is cramped.

Though the old library will be missed, Tameside’s new Central Library offers a welcoming environment, though it doesn’t quite feel the same as being in a dedicated library building. It is more akin to a public living room than a public library. As for its location, great for bus, train and tram connections.

If there is one drawback, it is the sight of security guards patrolling the library itself. This can disorient some readers and students. With the security presence detracting from the silent, contemplative environment, yours truly would still be using Dukinfield’s and Stalybridge’s public libraries as his first choices.

Meet your new shop… the same as the old shop…

Besides death and taxation, the inauguration of phoenix companies from the ashes is another certainty in our lifetime. Some companies may form new businesses with similar names from the ashes of a previous one.

Nationwide, Poundworld and its successors are no exception to this rule. Following the resurrection of Bargain Buys, One Below (owned by former Poundworld managers) opened their Ashton-under-Lyne branch on Friday [05 April].

Opening in the former Poundworld unit on Staveleigh Way, One Below takes the single price retail format a little further. Nothing is sold for more than a £1. Unlike Poundland’s original business model, some items will be less than a £1. Excluding carrier bags, its cheapest items would cost you 29p.

Whereas Poundworld Retail was sold to TPG Retail, a US private equity company, One Below is in British hands. Like Poundworld’s predecessor, Superpound, its head offices are based in West Yorkshire.

A Staley Survey

In the last three months, we have found how the retail offer in Stalybridge has changed dramatically. During our last visit (30 March) we found that Cancer Warriors were celebrating their first year in Stalybridge. From the former Chicken Barbecue unit, there was a little celebratory event.

Next door to the Legends public house on Grosvenor Street are Bella Leigh Nails and Beauty, and Edge of the Deep Blue Sea. The latter business has won friends due to its delectable cakes and flans (and a £3.00 coffee and cake offer).

Other recent arrivals include Golden Clippers and Beauty Box (both on Melbourne Street). Also Aspinall’s Boutique, next to Quality Save. From the Stalybridge Town Facebook page’s status update, the town has found its mojo. Not only through Stalybridge’s newest additions but also well-established businesses and the first of the town’s New Wave of Staley Indies (such as 5 A Day, Be Creative, Crafty Pint, and Deli Felice).

In a future Ashton Review of Shops Extra, we shall look at Stalybridge’s retail scene in greater detail. If you compare the Stalybridge of 2019 with the Stalybridge of 2009, this could make for interesting reading.

TAC Tales: Update on the Joint Service Centre

Some of the paving on the walkway from Wellington Road to the open market is awaiting completion. Work has yet to begin on the focal piazza facing the town hall and market hall.

With Ashton Bus Station Mark IV, the bus interchange’s small shelters (alongside the tram station) are coming on nicely. Following a recent Tameside MBC meeting, we can confirm that its official name will be Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange. Bang goes the suggestion of it being called Tameside Interchange 1 with (supposedly) Stalybridge and Hyde being interchanges 2 and 3. Common sense has prevailed.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

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

A quiet one over the last month.

  • The former Yorkshire Bank unit on 68 – 70 Market Street, Hyde will be converted into a café on the ground floor with co-working space and apartments above.
  • Barclays Bank’s former Stamford Street Central premises have now been sold, subject to conditions for £250,000.
  • Only a few yards away, Bargain Cave has reopened. Its new owners have added a secondhand clothing rail with vintage and not-so-vintage preloved clothing for sale.
  • A new Notemachine ATM will be added to Jit’s Super Shop on 21 Market Street, Stalybridge. This will replace the present fee charging machine (£1.80 each time you draw some money out!) including security bollards and illuminated signage.
  • Cineworld has put in an application for new Starbucks advertisement signage outside their Ashton Moss multiplex cinema.
  • The former Grasmere Motors garage on Egmont Street, Mossley could be demolished with nine dwellings taking its place.
  • A shop unit on 48 Manchester Road, Denton could become a café or restaurant.
  • Strands hairdressers on 62 Stockport Road, Denton, could be converted into a house.
  • Could we find a use for Hyde’s former Gabbot’s Farm shop? 40 Market Place could be converted from a shop to café. Could it be a global megacorp coffee place or a local café?
  • On the border of Tameside and Manchester, 5 Station View, Fairfield, could be converted into a Home of Multiple Occupation.

Retail Movements

This month has been a little kinder to Tameside’s retail scene.

  • The Willow Wood Hospice has opened a pop-up discount charity shop on 11 Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. Further to their existing premises in the Ladysmith Shopping Centre, its aim is to sell off extensive stock at lower than usual prices.
  • Now taking up a lease in the former Perfect Home unit at Ladysmith Shopping Centre is Kyla. The business is another discount boutique with a temporary sign. Long term lease with new sign pending or another short term one like Value Clothing?
  • On Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, the Giraffe Café has now doubled in size taking up an empty neighbouring unit. The new unit is known as The Giraffe Room.
  • T. Cartwright, the long-closed butchers on Melbourne Street, Stalybridge will soon be finding a new tenant. The unit was sold at auction by Edward Mellor.
  • Staley Vacs will be moving from 67 Market Street, Stalybridge, to new premises on 141 King Street, Dukinfield.

Pub and club update

In the local pub scene, The Commercial Hotel on Manchester Road, Mossley has started doing food. Only a few yards over the railway bridge, there had been plans to convert the former Royal Bank of Scotland into a bar. In the last month, a further application has been made.

The Astley Arms (Top Astley) is in the midst of having exterior refurbishment works. On a sadder note, The Penny Farthing has closed with fears of its depubification mentioned in the Manchester Evening News. Opening in 1980 to serve St. Anne’s estate in Denton, several hundred people have signed a petition with some hoping to take the pub into community ownership.

…And Finally…

If you heard Britannia Class 70000 pootling its way through Stalybridge on the 30 March, you could be forgiven for thinking we have returned to the 1950s. In fact, the BR Standard Class 7 steam locomotive was pulling a private charter train from Swansea to Sunderland known as The Brexit Express.

The original plan was to celebrate Britain’s exit from the European Union which, had everything ran to time, would have taken place at 2300 hours on the 29 March. Like Britain’s exit from the EU the train itself was delayed, by around 30 minutes. Here’s a clip of BR 70000 Britannia passing Stalybridge station.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 04 May 2019 at the usual time of 9am. Could this be the first post-Brexit Ashton Review of Shops? Whatever happens, same bat time, same bat channel and all that yada yada…!

S.V., 06 April 2019.

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