This month’s window on the shop windows

  • Denton Wellness Centre opens;
  • Historic pub under threat in Godley;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements from the Top Dog to the Joshua Bradley.

Welcome to the third Ashton Review of Shops for 2020, the last of the 2019 – 2020 financial year. This month’s bulletin sees our public buildings and public houses taking centre stage.

Denton Wellness Centre opens

On Sunday, March 1st, the Denton Wellness Centre opened off Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze Way. The new leisure centre includes a new eight-lane swimming pool to replace the previous facility on Victoria Street. There is also a ten-pin bowling alley, a performance area for live bands and a sensory garden.

At £15m, it is the borough’s flagship leisure facility. It also breaks new ground in being fully accessible for wheelchair users and in having ‘dementia friendly’ design features. The Active Tameside Denton Wellness Centre adjacent to Crown Point North and a short walk or 347 bus ride away. Great if you feel guilty after nipping to the drive thru McDonalds nearby, or the Crown Point Tavern.

Barclays to close Hyde branch

The loss of our retail banks has been a recurring theme in The Ashton Review of Shops. By the Summer of 2020, Barclays Bank will be closing their Hyde branch on Market Street. This would mean customers seeking counter service will have to travel to the Arcades Shopping Centre or Marple branches. Details of its closure were announced in advance to Jonathan Reynolds MP.

Barclays’ Hyde branch retains an optimistic 1960s air, in spite of modern-day interior changes. Externally, it was attractively refurbished by Martins Bank, before they became a subsidiary of Barclays Bank in 1965. Barclays’ presence in the North West is due to the former Liverpool-based bank’s network of branches in Northern England. By 1970, Martins was absorbed into the Barclays empire which led to the inevitable happening after a bank merger. Yes, you’ve guessed it: branch closures.

BrightHouse to enter into administration?

BrightHouse, the purveyor of weekly credit white goods could enter into administration. Starting out as Crazy George in 1994, they started out as a sister company to Thorn EMI’s Radio Rentals chain. Using the same rent-to-buy model as TV rental stores, Crazy George – later BrightHouse – extended this model to home furnishings as well as washing machines and televisions.

Earlier this week, the company has put Grant Thornton on standby, should BrightHouse need to enter into administration. If the company does so, 2,400 jobs will be at risk. In Tameside, this covers BrightHouse’s Hyde and Ashton-under-Lyne branches. Its competitor, PerfectHome, is online only though retains BrightHouse’s rent-to-buy model.

Crawshaws’ Comeback Special

We now have another twist in the tale of the empty Gabbots Farm/Crawshaws unit in Ashton-under-Lyne’s Arcades Shopping Centre. It gives us great pleasure to announce its reopening. The company has asked for an experienced manager, full time and part time counter assistants, and experienced meat wrappers.

TAC Tales

Much of our TAC Tales cover Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange. We can tell you that Ashton’s fourth (and probably most sophisticated) bus station will be open in June of this year.

So far, stand changes that were originally pencilled in for the 11 February were delayed till the 27 February due to Storm Ciara. Temporary changes have seen the 348 and 350 routes moved to Stand A, which will become Stand B upon the bus station’s completion. The 7 and 217 routes have moved to Stand B, which will become Stand A in its permanent guise after June.

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…

Fairly quiet.

  • 242 – 248 Kings Road, Hurst, one time site of the Hurst Cross Co-op Late Shop, could see the construction of a mixed use development with two retail units and four flats.
  • Still in Hurst, plans have been approved for the construction of boundary walls at the BAPS Manchester community centre on Lees Road.
  • Maintaining Dukinfield’s position as the dead centre of Tameside, plans have been submitted for new cremation equipment at Dukinfield Crematorium.
  • Plans have been resubmitted for new build apartments off Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne (behind the former Shubar and Ye Olde Vaults).
  • Deshopification could be the fate of 59 Birch Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, which could be converted into flats.
  • This too could be the fate of 10 Stockport Road, Mossley, which could be converted into two one bedroom flats. Till recently, this was the Ruff Stuff pet shop.
  • If High Peak Architects get their way, the former Stalybridge Police Station on Corporation Street could be converted into apartments, following variations to their previous plans.
  • Lily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine on 85 Oldham Road, Ashton-under-Lyne could be getting an extension.

Retail Movements

Not a lot to report. As always, feel free to add to the list.

  • Ever wondered what happened to Ashton’s branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland? Moore Chartered Accountants have taken on the unit.
  • From our observations, Bond Street Shoes could be leaving their Mercian Way unit due to rent issues.
  • Also on Mercian Way, The CBD Shop has closed.
  • A recent addition to Dukinfield’s retail scene is Yassou, taking up the former Denton’s Newsagents unit on the corner of King Street and Astley Street.
  • As stated in greater detail, the reopening of Crawshaws in the Arcades Shopping Centre.

Pub and club update

Over the last month, the biggest shock has been the proposed sale of The Godley Hall Inn to a property developer.

If depubification isn’t another scourge of the pub scene, one or two may add gentrification to the list. The Forester on Fir Tree Lane is set to reopen this month in its new foodie-friendly guise a la Top Astley. In the last week, there has been advertisements asking for full time and part time staff.

In the last week, The Royal Oak in Hurst Cross has had its licence suspended for a month. Reports of antisocial behaviour and drug-taking has effected the pub’s temporary closure.

On a positive note, we welcome the opening of Pitstop on 91 Manchester Road, Denton. As the name and logo suggests, it is a sports-orientated pub that also specialises in food and live music. You might also remember it in its previous guise as The Bowling Green. What’s more, the pub is in staggering distance from the Belle Vue and Manchester bus stop and a Chinese chippy. Which isn’t a bad thing.

Though the J.D. Wetherspoon chain has more than its fair share of critics (Tim Martin’s political views and its buying power to name a few), The Society Rooms has introduced a Men’s Sheds type of event. Taking place on Friday mornings, its aim is to improve male mental health with free tea or coffee and bacon butties.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 04 April 2020 at the usual time of 9am. As always, feel free to elaborate on our observations or add a few more to the mix. Remember, in the last five to six years of The Ashton Review of Shops, you make it what it is.

S.V., 07 March 2020.

One thought on “Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, March 2020: The Ashton Review of Shops

  1. The Godley Hall? Last pub in the area if I remember correctly. Went there several times many years ago. Lovely place. That would be a big loss.


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