Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, August 2020: The Ashton Review of Shops

This month’s semi-quarantined window on the shop windows

Have you seen any signs of the New Normal, or would this New Normal be a mere interlude in advance of a possible second wave? Whatever happens, August 2020 will be a world away from August 2019, never mind August 2009. Shortly after the publication of last month’s bulletin, yours truly got his first haircut in four months!

A post lockdown pint

Yours truly, between buses, had his first post-lockdown pint at the Prince of Orange last week. The atmosphere was relaxed and the Dizzy Blonde was on great form. Better still, it was slightly under £3.00 a pint.

One thing I was surprised by was the lack of Yates’ Wine Lodge/One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest uniform. There was no temporary screens but customers are reminded to remain seated with their drinks. Signing in for HM Government’s Test and Trace is done the low-tech way: pen and paper with a bottle of hand sanitiser.

Thankfully, the multi-roomed nature of The Prince of Orange allows for good social distancing. At each entry and exit of the pub, there is hand sanitiser, which is best applied on entry and exit. When you walk to the bar, I recommend leaving your mask on till you’ve reached your table. If you need to use the toilet, only one person at a time can call in any of the lavatories.

My experience in The Prince of Orange wouldn’t be universal across the borough’s pubs. Some of them will impose one way systems, as seen at The Bowling Green (exit at Penny Meadow, entrance on Market Street). Others may require advance booking or the use of a mobile app.

If you follow The Ashton Review of Shops and like a pint or three, feel free to give us your observations and experiences.

In other news…

It gives us great pleasure to announce the reopening of George’s Chippy on Concord Way, Dukinfield. This place, alongside Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar and Wright’s Café Central, were among the ten Tameside eateries I missed most due to the lockdown.

Though some chippies have reopened earlier than George’s enterprise, today’s fish and chip lover will be served behind perspex screens. The usual social distancing protocols and face covering rules apply.

Retail redundancies and closures

Across the UK, Quiz Clothing have entered into a pre-pack administration deal. This has seen the closure of eleven stores, one of which being Ashton-under-Lyne’s branch.

Elsewhere, thanks to COVID-19 depressing the travel industry, TuI is set to close 166 High Stores in the UK and Ireland. With the trend towards online bookings, there will be a loss of 900 jobs. It is envisaged that its workforce would be doing more work from home as well as its remaining stores. As to which Tameside branches would be affected by this remains to be seen.

Eat Out To Help Out

Whatever you make of HM Government’s off-peak dining scheme (available throughout August from Monday to Wednesday), a number of local eateries in Tameside have taken part. These include The Gold Medal chippy, the delightfully named Bun Voyage on Stamford Square, and the Daisy Nook Garden Centre.

All you need to do is enter your postcode on GOV.UK’s Eat Out To Help Out page. It should give you a list of 100 eateries in a five mile radius. You can also search for chain store restaurants and cafés on there, though I would personally go for an independent any day.

TAC Tales

On the 30 July 2020, Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange’s new bus station was open for test runs. The borough’s main bus operators used that Thursday to test the terminal’s facilities in advance of its public opening next month.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

With the lockdown still in place (and now beefed up a bit in these parts!), it has been a quiet month.

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

  • An office on 1A Joel Lane, Hyde could become a hairdressers’ shop.
  • A ground floor shop unit on 41 Manchester Road, Denton could be converted to a shop with a self-contained flat.
  • The Mighty Bite Café on Whitelands Road, Ashton-under-Lyne may see a few changes with the addition of a takeaway facility. This would allow for improved social distancing and the ability to close off the dining facilities where they see fit at certain times.
  • Plans have been submitted for a takeaway on 151 King Street, Dukinfield, which has previously been Freya and Jonah’s shop. It had previously been a jewellers and Oakview TV and Satellite Aerials.
  • From buttonholes to lugholes: that could be the fate of a unit on 275 Market Street, Hyde. Plans have been submitted for its change of use from a dry cleaners to an ear cleaning clinic.
  • A variation to previous plans for a takeaway in Dukinfield’s former NatWest Bank has been submitted. Instead of having a hot food takeaway and a smaller shop, the whole bank building would become a supermarket.

Retail Movements

Little to report; a short but sweet update again.

  • As stated earlier, Quiz Clothing’s Ashton shop has closed, being one of eleven UK stores to face the axe.
  • Also gone from the Arcades Shopping Centre is Bet Fred’s tiny unit, previously the record department of Ashton’s third version of Woolworths.
  • A new arrival to King Street, Dukinfield is ABC Accessories, taking in part of another former bank building.
  • Two new additions to the Ladysmith Shopping Centre are The Gift Shack and The Style Shed, both of which on Mercian Way. The latter is an offshoot of Bond Street Footwear.

Pub and club update

Shortly after the reopening of our pubs, we learned that social distancing policies were breached in three of Tameside’s hostelries. As a consequence, two had their licences suspended and one pub had their licence revoked.

On Stamford Street Central, The Top End Bar saw the suspension of its licence for three months. This took effect ten days after pubs were able to reopen. This also affects the Owd Joss on Clarendon Street, Hyde (formerly Last Orders and The Clarendon). In Mossley, The Billy Goat has had its licence revoked, following breaches of lockdown conditions on the very first day of lockdown closures.

Plans have also been submitted by The Pig on the Wall in Droylsden, to improve social distancing. They have put in plans for the addition of an external free-standing covered pergola and an outbuilding for use as an outdoor bar.

The former Roe Cross Inn, latterly a garden centre and a café, could see its metamorphosis from public house to private house made complete. This time with nine two bedroom flats using the historic building.

By the time you have read this, The Wheatsheaf in Dukinfield will have changed hands. After being dissatisfied with the Pubco’s recent stance, Paula Roberts has decided to let someone else take the wheel after her five year stint. We wish her well in her next venture.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 05 September 2020 at the usual time of 9am. By then, lockdown conditions permitting, we should get the lowdown on Ashton Bus Station Mark IV. The football season would be ready to start by then and – hopefully for me – the Tameside Quiz League season. As always, feel free to elaborate on our observations or add a few more to the mix.

S.V., 01 August 2020.

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