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

This month’s window on the shop windows

  • The Royal Exchange Theatre comes to Stalybridge Civic Hall;
  • TAC Tales: Ashton bus shelter changes;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements from Hollingworth to Littlemoss.

Over the last month, the sizzling summer weather gave way to flooding with parts of the Tame Valley affected.

The Den at Stalybridge Civic Hall

From the 13 to the 24 August 2019, the Royal Exchange Theatre Company will be coming to Stalybridge Civic Hall. Their new pop-up theatre will host a number of performances with productions inspired by our proud history. There will also be turn up and go family events including The Story Den, with children’s stories read by Coronation Street and Hollyoaks actors (and a Denton-born comedian).

Extra events include the Peterloo Anniversary Concert with Stalybridge Old Band (17 August). Tickets are priced £6.00 on the door. There is also four creative workshops during their residency.

For further details and booking information, go to the Royal Exchange Theatre website’s page on The Den at Stalybridge Old Band.

TAC Tales: Wellington Road pedestrianisation

One important piece of the Vision Tameside puzzle will be added this month: the partial pedestrianisation of Wellington Road. Between Tameside One and Clarendon Sixth Form College, a short section of this once busy road will be closed to all road traffic. This move will create a seamless pedestrianised connection with Tameside College’s buildings and Ashton town centre. As far as Stamford Street Central via Market Avenue.

Therefore, Wellington Road from the Prince of Orange up to Clarendon Sixth Form College would be mainly used for loading and unloading goods (or beer barrels). As of now, the section between Penny Meadow and Ashton Town Hall will be used by taxis.

What about bus passengers who have been somewhat inconvenienced by the Vision Tameside works? The temporary stop just before The Bowling Green could well be a permanent fixture. As for the three stops outside The Engine Room and The Ash Tree, they are going. Its replacement is a single stop with a shelter on the side of the Pizza Hut Delivery Shop on Henrietta Street.

Like westbound buses, eastbound buses from Ashton-under-Lyne bus station will also use the Albion Way (Ashton Northern Bypass). After Henrietta Street, eastbound buses will turn left onto Penny Meadow. The changes will see eastbound buses having to negotiate one extra set of traffic lights than at present. Alternatively, some buses could join Albion Way outside the Albion School building and take the bypass to Henrietta Street, then return via Penny Meadow.

A bus gate as at Trinity Street, Stalybridge, would have been a better idea – even with the restoration of the Market Hall stop. One more thing, if you need to catch a 236 from Wetherspoons under the new system, the rear exit could be your friend.

Stalybridge sketches

The biggest news this month is the Royal Exchange Theatre’s residency of the Stalybridge Civic Hall. In the retail world, Gail from the First Impressions wedding shop is retiring after 30 years. We wish her well on her next journey and thank her for supporting Stalybridge town centre.

The Chip Shop off Armentieres Square is up for sale after a year of being in the town centre. Opening to such great fanfare in its first month, its trade was badly affected by the National Grid’s road works (which made Stalybridge virtually inaccessible for some shoppers).

In the last month, Skin Hub on 43 Melbourne Street has opened. With the addition of fresh new signage, DB Beauty in Portland Place have raised their game. Uneed’s in Longlands Mill is now the Vevas bistro.

In other news, the first team of Stalybridge Celtic Football Club is seeking a shirt sponsor. During the close season, the ‘Bridge have been busy creating a Ladies’ Team.

A brief look at the new Wilko store

In the last month, we have had a quick peek at the new Wilko store in Tameside One. It is modern and does the job, though somewhat charmless due to its low ceiling and lack of natural light. Any sources of natural light are stifled by its window graphics. The layout is a little chaotic, and I cannot see why they couldn’t have placed the checkouts near the entrance (which would be more user-friendly).

The store only has one entrance: the first Wilko store under TAC had three, as per its previous occupants, Presto (and latterly Safeway). One that led to the bus station, and another that led to the Camp Street car park (with a pelican crossing and a trolley bay at the car park).

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…

Very quiet.

  • A shop on 102 Mill Lane, Haughton Green will be retaining its cash machine. A second set of plans have been filed for the installation of surrounding illuminated signage.
  • Some derelict houses on 4 – 6 Water Street, Stalybridge could be renovated into four one bedroom dwelling with two on each floor.
  • The most contested planning application this month has been Tameside MBC’s plans to demolish the James Nield Conservatory, which were approved on the 15 July. By the time you have read this, demolition work should be taking place! Is there another twist to the tale of the Stamford Park summer house?

Retail Movements

Two iconic Ashton eateries and a Mossley chippy have closed.

  • New to 43 Melbourne Street, Stalybridge is Skin Hub, a recent addition to the Anything That Amazon Cannot Do tribe of retail premises. We hope its central position is a winning move.
  • As we have said earlier, The Chip Shop on Armentieres Square, Stalybridge is up for sale. The lease is still available for its continued use as a takeaway. It is all yours for £24,950.
  • Avenue 18 on Market Avenue, Ashton-under-Lyne is looking for a new owner. We hope whoever takes over matches their predecessor in terms of the quality of food.
  • The barbers in the former Holloway’s unit on Old Street have closed. Next door, the Pound Buster walk around shop is up for sale.
  • In Ashton Indoor Market, the Wallcoverings and Decor stall is closing.

Pub and club update

With last month, as you were with The Little Astley (Astley Arms, Tame Street) still being closed. The Top Astley, (Astley Arms, Crescent Road) is still in the midst of refurbishment work and advertising for new kitchen staff. It would be good to see The Top Astley returning to the top table as far as pub food is concerned in Dukinfield.

In the Mossley Correspondent, the former Royal Bank of Scotland bank building’s conversion to a bar made the front page. Known as The Gillery, its owner Dermot Gill is looking at creating a Bohemian atmosphere for his venture. All will be revealed this autumn.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 06 September 2019 at the usual time of 9am. Same bat time, same bat channel… say no more.

S.V., 03 August 2019.

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