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

Under normal circumstances, our shops will be getting ready for Christmas. Not so at this time of writing. With COVID-19 cases hitting record levels, any sense of normality may be out of the question for a year.

At the sharp end of the pandemic is our licensed premises, particularly music venues and smaller pubs (where social distancing is problematic). For over a week, our pubs have been hit by a 10pm curfew.

The Arcades at 25

This month sees the Silver Jubilee of Arcades Shopping Centre. 25 years ago this month, Ashton’s second shopping centre was opened in 1995 by Stuart Hall and Su Pollard. The centre opened in stages with Woolworths opening in October 1994. Argos shortly followed alongside Shoe Express, Partners stationery shop and Connors chemist.

On opening, its shops also included Next, New Look, Allsports, John Menzies, Early Learning Centre, Adams, Thorntons, and Tandy. Massarella’s Café occupied most of the shopping centre’s first floor before moving to its present-day smaller unit. The escalator also had transparent panels, which meant you could see its steps going their merry way. Since 1995, only Next and Halifax have stayed in the same units.

If you would like to know more about the Arcades Shopping Centre’s history in potted form, there will be an Ashton Review of Shops Extra feature on the horizon. Stay tuned for further announcements.

TAC Tales

As revealed in the Tameside Reporter, Tameside MBC is reviewing its property portfolio. Along with some parcels of land, this includes the Tameside Hippodrome building, the Concord Suite in Droylsden and buildings in Cheetham’s Park, Stalybridge. Whether they would be sold to community groups or developers remain to be seen.

Since our last edition of The Ashton Review of Shops, roadworks at the Water Street end of the bus station have been completed. Therefore, passengers on the 347 route now use Stand N instead of the temporary stands.

Retail redundancies and closures

Over the next year, it was announced that TSB would be closing 164 retail banks with a loss of 900 jobs. It is claimed that customers have shifted over to online banking services. Of those affected by closures, the Denton branch isn’t one of them.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

Would you believe it? No planning permission for any retail projects over the last month.

Retail Movements

Little to report; a short but sweet update again.

  • Work seems to be under way at the former Age UK charity shop on Melbourne Street, Stalybridge (opposite its larger successor).
  • Harwick’s Herbal Shop has vacated their Armentieres Square premises in favour of being an online only business.
  • New to The Arcade (off Stanley Square, Stalybridge) is Far and Beyond Funeral Directors.
  • At the bottom end of King Street, Dukinfield (near White Bridge), a former newsagents is undergoing conversion into a One Stop convenience store. This would be TESCO’s first incursion into Dukinfield – albeit under one of their non-TESCO store chains.

Pub and club update

Any optimism that our public houses may have had last month have been sapped by the latest changes. That of course means the Government’s 10 o’clock curfew, which has seen last orders being called at 9.15 or 9.30 pm. The other development is every pub being table service only.

Thanks to the lockdown and lack of scope for social distancing, the excellent Ashton Tap House has had to cease trading. As reported in CAMRA’s High Peak and North East Cheshire Branch’s email newsletter, the micropub has had six months rent arrears.

In Denton, the George Kirkpatrick on Crown Point has closed. On a more positive note, The Witchwood will reopen on the 19 October at 4pm.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 07 November 2020 at the usual time of 9am. By then, we should be turning our thoughts to Christmas, though this year’s celebration will be anything but normal.

If you would like to add to this month’s digest of retail movements, feel free to comment. What will your favourite shop or pub be doing for Halloween? Drop us a line.

S.V., 03 October 2020.

2 thoughts on “Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, October 2020: The Ashton Review of Shops

  1. stuart bargain buys will be vacating there unit soon with staff either leaving or relocating to the pound strecher opp the bus station


  2. Hi James,

    That’s a bit of a shame as I find this store a handy alternative to Wilko. I suppose this is due to the lower rents, so I wonder if it is (a) that Poundstretcher’s parent is retiring the Bargain Buys chain nationwide, or that (b) it only affects the Ashton store.

    Either way, this leaves a (once modest sized) department store unit in Ashton-under-Lyne. One problem is that department stores seem to be in terminal decline – as epitomised by Debenhams’ and House of Fraser’s problems.

    Another – due to the reason why Marks and Spencer moved to Ashton Moss – is size. It is not big enough for a typical Primark store, but big enough for B&M to move over from Bow Street. It is too big for an e-cig shop or a bookmakers but big enough for a TESCO Express.

    My money’s on the property being vacant for several years, or it becoming a charity shop.




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