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

This month will see some sense of normality returning to our High Streets – or at least plans pointing us towards a sense of normality. The first part of this post-pandemic ‘reopening’ will begin with our schools. According to the Government’s Roadmap, non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen from the 12 April 2021 at the earliest, as will public houses with beer gardens.

In the last month, COVID-19 cases rose for a bit in Tameside before going down in the last week. What effect will the schools reopening have on cases in the next month?

Starbucks comes to Denton

If you cannot wait for the opening of Starbucks Coffee’s Ashton unit (on ASDA car park near Alma Bridge), you will find that a new one has already opened in Tameside. On Friday, the Crown Point North branch of Starbucks Coffee opened.

Till now, Starbucks Coffee’s presence in the borough was through the takeout market (via Euro Garages’ ESSO service station on Stamford Street, Stalybridge) and concessions at Village hotels in Hyde and Ashton-under-Lyne. With the lockdown/post-lockdown restrictions, service at Starbucks Coffee’s new Denton store will be takeaway only for now.

New dessert shop for Stalybridge

Since the start of this year, EMW (East Meets West) on Huddersfield Road, Millbrook has gained great local popularity with their takeaway. By the start of April, they will double their presence in Stalybridge with a new dessert shop. Soon to open in the town centre, it would sell waffles, milkshakes, freakshakes, cookie doughs and doughnuts. They are also asking for staff, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, please send your CV off to info[at] (Replace the [at] with an @ in your message).

New bottle shop for Stalybridge

If you fancy something stronger than coffee and doughnuts, stand by for OL’s Bier and More. Situated on 93 Market Street, Eloise and Shaun Bishop’s artisan bottle shop, its aim is to sell a comprehensive range of bottled beers, wines and ciders. As well as being avid Stalybridge Celtic fans, their other passion is real ale – bottled and cask conditioned.

Whether from Sheffield or Bielefeld, there should be an ale or wine for any taste and budget. Bishop family’s enterprise will be situated in what was formerly Brian Hudson’s Barbers shop.

“Rip It Up and Start Again”

What’s being refurbished or demolished and replaced this month or two?

Britannia Mill, Mossley

Instead of being renovated, the vacant Britannia Mill on Manchester Road, Mossley, is set to be demolished and replaced by a similar looking new build structure. This will see the addition of flats with up to 62 apartments. None of which will be Affordable Housing.

In addition to three storeys of living accommodation, there will be retail space on the ground floor. This, potentially, extends the retail centre of Bottom Mossley northwards. Whether they will let the units remains to be seen. The last such development in Tameside (Summers House, Armentieres Square, Stalybridge) has yet to see its first retail tenants.

The Shubar, Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne

Plans for the demolition of the former Shubar unit have been passed. In its place will be more apartments. This time, 49 flats: six of which will be studio apartments, with two two-bedroom apartments and 41 one-bedroom apartments. There will be four floors with studio flats on the top floor, and space for retail units on the ground floor facing Old Street. As to whether they will be Affordable Homes or not, we think that answer is ‘no’.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

Any plans affecting our public houses will be seen in the Pub and Club Update section. Aye thank you…

Another quiet month.

  • Retrospective planning permission has been applied for the deshopification of 14 Wood Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. This will see Karl’s being converted into a single dwelling terraced house.
  • More deshopification could see Sherlock and Co’s offices on 36 Chester Square, Ashton-under-Lyne being converted into a seven bedroom House of Multiple Occupation.
  • The former Petite Feet unit on 133 Stamford Street Central, and its neighbouring units on 129 to 131 could see deshopifcation. This time with a six-bedroom House of Multiple Occupation.
  • The one-time largest unit of The Amazing Charity Shop on Stamford Street Central, Ashton-under-Lyne could be split into two retail units with ten apartments above. These will be accessed from Stamford Street with an entrance between the new, smaller units. The revamped building will have three floors, refurbished in a dignified style in keeping with the street’s Victorian ambience.

Retail Movements

Little to report; a short but sweet update again.

  • Starbucks Coffee’s arrival in Denton, at the Crown Point North retail park.
  • Planning permission gained for flats and ground floor units on Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.
  • The arrival of OL Bier and More, 93 Market Street, Stalybridge.
  • New dessert shop for Stalybridge.

Pub and club update

In one way you could say it is pretty quiet this month. This doesn’t tell the full story as some of our borough’s pubs have been busy selling takeaway meals. Some are being refurbished, pending a relaunch. All eyes will be on the 12 April 2021, when a limited number of pubs (those with beer gardens) will be able to reopen.

Droylsden’s soon-to-be-third micro bar, The Jam Works on 118 – 120 Market Street has submitted plans for the addition of a first floor roof terrace. Also along the 231 bus route, The Broadoak Hotel has made no secret of its refurbishment work and plans for a relaunch.

Also of note, J.D. Wetherspoon’s two pubs in the Tameside area will be reopening on the 12 April 2021. Customers using The Ash Tree and The Society Rooms will be able to enjoy a pint with or without a substantial meal. There is a catch: you will have to have your few scoops or cut-price chilli-con-carne outside in the beer garden.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 03 April 2021 (Easter Saturday) at the usual time of 9am. Will we be seeing livelier High Streets? Will the COVID-19 cases come down?

Who knows where we’ll be next month? As always, feel free to add your observations. I wonder if Guinness would send me a postcard from his holiday on the Isle of Dogs?

S.V., 04 March 2021.

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