This month’s window on the shop windows
- Stalybridge to be The Cycling Capital of Tameside?
- Albemarle and Bond and Thomas Cook closures;
- Plus all the usual retail movements from The Red House to The Lamb.
With the exception of some good news in Stalybridge, this September has been a depressing month for bricks and mortar retail.
Could Stalybridge be The Cycling Capital of Tameside?
On the 14 September, the Tour of Britain’s passage through Stalybridge and Mossley was well received. Shortly afterwards, on the following Sunday, came the equally well received Tameside Bicycle Festival on Armentieres Square, Stalybridge.
Since then, we have learned that Stalybridge has won a share of funding from a £95m government fund towards the creation of a historic quarter. In a previous East of the M60 article, we looked at how a Historic Quarter could be created and developed. In the last week, we have learned about the town’s inclusion in a nationwide cycle route: The Great North Trail.
Within Tameside, the Great North Trail takes in Brushes and Walkerwood Reservoirs, Buckton Castle and White Gate Pike before reaching Saddleworth along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Cycling UK’s 800-mile trail takes in existing bridleways and paths, starting at Wirksworth before finishing up in Cape Wrath. Linking Scotland with the Peak District, it is possible to carry your bike on the 343 or 348 to Carrbrook, then cycle to the Scottish Highlands.
Two more reasons to go to Stalybridge this weekend
Today (05 October) Florence and Amelias will be having a grand reopening. The fun begins at 12pm with cheesy pineapple thingies and wine, along with a sneak preview of their latest furniture. Apart from that, it is also their fifth birthday (Many Happy Returns from East of the M60 – Ed). Which makes Florence and Amelias almost as old as our very own Ashton Review of Shops posts.
If you thought that wasn’t enough, Stalybridge Civic Hall (or Victoria Market Hall if you prefer) will be hosting an Artisan Market. Little Owl’s Make It Artisan Market will be open from 10am to 4pm. The promoter has hosted numerous craft markets throughout Tameside and North East Cheshire.
From the artisan spectrum to the autism spectrum
Throughout our borough and surrounding area, some of our retailers are backing the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour campaign. From today (05 October) to the 12 October, an hour a day would be set aside for autie-friendly shopping. During each hour, the lighting would be dimmed a little with extraneous noises and background music kept to a minimum.
In Tameside, all of TESCO’s stores – whether TESCO Express, TESCO Extra or bog-standard TESCO stores will be participating in the scheme. There will be an Autism Hour from 9am to 10am today (05 October) and next Saturday (12 October). Also doing the same two Saturdays – again from 9am to 10am will be Morrisons.
The Co-op’s convenience stores will be taking part on the 12 October from 11am to 12 midday. Which, ironically is the birthday of the late great Donna Williams, an influential author and artist in furthering our knowledge of autism spectrum conditions.
The Barnardo’s charity shops in Denton, Droylsden and Ashton-under-Lyne will be making Sunday 06 October an autism-friendly shopping day. IKEA’s will be on Wednesday 09 October, from 10am to 12 midday.
For further details, go to the National Autistic Society’s Find an Autism Hour Near You page.
The demise of Thomas Cook
Like Woolworths, Marks and Spencer, Boots and WHSmith, Thomas Cook is one of many British retail icons. In the last month, we have learned of its demise, particularly in relation to its aviation interests. Much has been made of the cabin crew being made redundant and being welcomed by other airlines. Locally, Stagecoach Manchester and Virgin West Coast have welcomed applications from former Thomas Cook employees.
With a substantial chunk of Thomas Cook’s aviation operations coming from Ringway, 3,000 jobs disappeared in Greater Manchester alone. With the retail business, Thomas Cook took on the former Co-op Travelcare shops which saw Ashton’s Old Street branch moving to Warrington Street.
If you have booked a holiday through Thomas Cook at a TUI store, you will be fully refunded. If you have booked a TUI, First Choice or Marella cruises holiday at a Thomas Cook store, don’t panic. Your booking will still be honoured, unless part of your leg includes a Thomas Cook flight.
Further details are available on the TUI website. Or you could pop in to a TUI Holiday store. Tameside’s branches are on Worthington Way at Crown Point North in Denton, 54 Melbourne Street in Stalybridge, and in the Arcades Shopping Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne.
Pawnbroker chain enters into administration
At one time, the pawnbroker’s shop was a lender of last resort for impoverished households, needing some spare cash. Nowadays, payday loan companies have muscled in on their market.
In the last fortnight, Albemarle and Bond and Herbert Brown chains of pawn shops have entered into administration. If you have pledged any items with the aforementioned pawn shops, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. All existing pledges will be honoured by H&T Pawnbrokers, who will be taking over the two businesses.
Once we find out more about H&T Pawnbrokers’ acquisition, expect to see something in a future edition of the Ashton Review of Shops.
Starting today (05 October) is Totally Locally’s Fiver Fest. This week, several independent shops across the UK will be offering you creative ways of spending £5.00. This is based on the premise that £13.5 billion would be invested in local economies, if every adult in the UK spent a fiver in independent shops and bars.
Ashton-under-Lyne will be participating in the Fiver Fest. Given our borough’s wealth of independent retailers, you wouldn’t be stuck for ideas. Instead of a Big Mac for example, why don’t you try one of Wright’s legendary fish finger butties? How about a trip to Ashton Tap House or Browton’s Bottle Shop instead of Wetherspoons for a pint or two?
As part of the construction of Ashton-under-Lyne’s state-of-the-art bus and tram interchange, Stand H from Ashton Bus Station Mark III has closed. Since the 29 September 2019, the 330 route’s Ashton terminus has moved to a temporary stand on Gas Street at the back of Boots, shared with the 345 route to Denton [Pendle Road].
Starting this Monday will be Ashton-under-Lyne’s first Asian market. Known as The Bazaar, it aims to offer another shopping experience complementing the regular indoor market and open market stalls. There will be Asian fashion, sweets, jewellery, scarves, Halal perfumes and household goods. Starting at 10am, there will be a Grand Opening and a party at 11am.
Forthcoming Planning Applications
Polite Note: for reasons of brevity, any pub and club applications come under the Pub and Club Update section. Ta-ra, chuck…
A bit livelier than last month.
- Retrospective planning permission has been submitted by Change Grow Live, for the conversion of the Ashton Business Centre into a drop-in centre with counselling rooms.
- A hairdressers on 6 Lees Road, Mossley could be converted from a salon to a private house.
- Retrospective planning permission has been submitted by Notemachine UK Ltd for the installation of a cash machine and associated signage at the Mottram Convenience Store on 102 John Kennedy Road, Hattersley. Similar plans have been lodged by the same company for cash machines at the Somerset Grocers (46 Somerset Road, Droylsden), the Late Shop on 187 – 193 Kings Road, Hurst (signage only), and at Neha’s Stores and sub-Post Office on 66 Yew Tree Lane.
- Subject to a successful application, the former Hunan Chippy on 47 North Road, Droylsden could be reopening.
- The former NatWest Bank on 149 Manchester Road, Denton could be converted into a restaurant.
- TGI Fridays have put in a planning application for some internally illuminated roof-mounted advertisements.
- A few months back, we found out about Greggs’ proposed move to the Arcades Shopping Centre. Further plans have been filed by the hugely successful bakery chain to add outdoor seating with space for ten smokers and/or non-smokers scoffing steak bakes.
A fair few moves: with the arrival of some new shops, it’s almost as if Christmas is coming.
- After 35 years, Top Shop/Top Man’s Ashton-under-Lyne branch has closed its doors.
- Taking on a unit in 2 Pattern House, Stalybridge is Hey Baby 4D, a private 4D ultrasound pregnancy scanning clinic.
- Opening their second shop in Northern England is Hampshire-based pizza franchise chain Pizza Time. Their Ashton-under-Lyne branch is on 185 Kings Road, Hurst. Just the thing you need after seeing the Robins.
- In the last month, Family Shopper, in the former Irish Institute club off Wellington Road has closed.
- Also gone is Shoe Master, a shoe repair shop on Mercian Way in the Ladysmith Shopping Centre.
- Whilst in the same shopping precinct, Tame Cycles has opened up in the former Grainger Games unit.
- Coming soon to Crown Point North, Denton, is Superdrug.
- Also coming soon – to Hyde this time – is Costa Coffee.
Pub and club update
A new season in the Tameside Quiz League has begun, this time with The Lodge Hotel‘s ‘A’ team moving to The Forester.
Over in Stalybridge, the new version of The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn will be offering food. Known as the Tasty Kitchen, the pub is asking for your ideal epicurean delights. If you fancy fish on Fridays or tapas on Tuesdays, give Sarah Farrar-Baxter and Co. a call on their Facebook page.
In Mossley, The Butchers Arms has been refurbished. The new-look pub on Stockport Road will be a veritable mecca for live acts and tribute bands. Tonight (05 October), there will be a grand reopening. A few yards up Stamford Road and George Street, The Blazing Rag has been given the same treatment. In its refurbished form, the pub reopened yesterday (04 October).
From Tameside MBC’s planning notices, our borough could be having its own distillery known as Tameside Distillery. What type of distillery it will be remains to be seen, though we think gin is most likely. (I doubt as if River Tame water would have the peat taste of an Islay single malt). The distillery will be based in Tameside Business Park, off Windmill Lane, Denton.
Plans have also submitted for the creation of a new outdoor smoking area for The Jolly Carter on 231 Manchester Road, Droylsden. Whilst on the same road, work on the micropub in the former Lloyds Bank premises is well and truly under way. A third micropub, opposite The Silly Country, will be opening in the former Royal Bank of Scotland premises. Known as The Jam Works, it is expected to open at the end of this month.
Meanwhile in Denton, on 49 Manchester Road, a former bridal shop could become a bar. The applicant would also like to turn the rear car parking space into an outdoor seating area.
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Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 02 November 2019 at the usual time of 9am. Same Ashton Bat. time, same Ashton Bat. channel… say no more.
Oh, and one more thing: The Ashton Review of Shops is five years old. In that time, we have seen the rise of micropubs, the loss of retail banks and the demise of a few big names. Our efforts to reinvigorate our town centres on an ALDI lemonade budget have been acknowledged over this half decade. All this and more may be covered in a future Ashton Review of Shops Extra. Stand by for further announcements.
S.V., 05 October 2019.