This month’s reopened window on the shop windows

For the third time this year, our window on the Tameside shop windows has been delayed. Once again we have deferred this month’s edition to tie in with this coming Monday’s events. Confused? Well you shouldn’t be, because on Monday 17 May 2021, our pubs and cafés will be fully opened. Hurrah for being able to eat and drink inside again.

What’s happening after the 17 May?

With the weather forecast set to be dull for the rest of the month, the timing couldn’t have been better. Once again, the usual social distancing rules will be in place and you still need to wear a face covering to move about the bar or café. In most cases, you might need to use the Test and Trace app on your smartphone or note your name and telephone number on a sheet of paper in the shop or pub.

In some pubs, table service is the norm. Others, like The Cracking Pint in Stalybridge, will operate on a one-in one-out basis. Therefore, if the pub in its socially distanced form is full, it will be full till one or more person leaves the house. With social distancing, a pub that would normally be licensed for 120 people may only accommodate half that number at best.

To avoid disappointment, it may be best to call in to your local outside peak hours if possible. Which in pub terms could be 8pm to 11pm on a Saturday night. Or 12pm to 6pm on Sundays.

A tale of two artisan markets

In the last month, there was two artisan markets in Tameside. One was operated by a private company and turned out to be a success. The other came from Tameside MBC’s Markets Department.

On the 24 April, a sunny Saturday, The Market Co.’s Ashton Artisan Market attracted great crowds. Stalls included Planet Doughnut, a Shrewsbury-based purveyor of premium priced doughnuts. There was also live music and premium priced pizza. A neat addition next to Ashton’s ever-popular incumbent stalls.

A week after was Hyde’s Artisan Market. With only three stalls, it was described as ‘a steady return’ to normality. For the people that visited, a joy to see some degree of normality. Unlike the Ashton one, Hyde’s market didn’t have the better weather.

HSBC UK branch changes

If you prefer to see a real person behind the counter at your bank and have an account with HSBC UK, you might wish to take your business elsewhere. Rather than closing their Ashton-under-Lyne branch, HSBC UK has decided to make it self-service only. With a small number of staff to help people with the tills, its Stamford Street branch will eschew counter service in the traditional sense.

Other retail changes in the Tameside area

  • Cash Generator on Market Street, Hyde has become CGX. Some of Cash Generator’s stores have been hived off to the newly created CGX, whose head office is in North Manchester. Ashton-under-Lyne’s Cash Generator will remain part of the Bolton based secondhand goods store chain.
  • If you have a guitar to sell, Ashton-under-Lyne’s latest addition is Sell Us Your Guitar. Also known as for its online hustle, they have taken a unit on the corner of George Street and Old Street (formerly Paws and Claws).
  • Also on George Street is Didi Baini. It a Nepalese shop selling food and gifts from Nepal.
  • Coming soon to Bow Street, occupying the former Moss Chemists unit, is St. Michael’s off licence. We hope the name is inspired by the electoral ward it is in, or the town’s iconic church instead of Marks and Spencer. (Yes, the last thing this world needs is another intellectual property battle with M&S after Cuthbertgate).

Forthcoming Planning Applications

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

As Bjork (or Janice Battersby in Corrie) once said…

  • The Shop Inn off-licence on 127 Stamford Street, Stalybridge, could become a Home of Multiple Occupancy with seven bedrooms.
  • Deshopification could well be the fate of 71 – 73 Ryecroft Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. The former Kenworthy’s Funeral Service unit could be converted to a dwelling house.
  • 73 – 75 Town Lane, Denton could suffer a similar fate. Plans have been submitted for the conversion of Inspire hair and beauty salon into two flats.

Pub and club update

Over the weekend, many more of our pubs will be welcoming back its customers. At least in the short term, social distancing measures will apply.

In our borough, there has been a few changes in ownership of our pubs. Firstly, The Albion Hotel – once the preserve of Guinness, Vinny and Ann – will be taken on by Ursula Higham. This will be her second pub in Dukinfield, and her third one along The 343 Corridor (her other two are The Cheshire Cheese and the George and Dragon, both in Newton). Regular hours will be 11am to 11pm, seven days a week from the 20 May.

Opening shortly after the 17 May (the 21 May to be precise) will be Zeros on Market Street, Stalybridge. Taking on the former Lions unit, it is billed as Tameside’s only Indie night club. On Sundays at 1pm, there will also be open mic sessions. Keeping the house in order is Sam Gosling, late of Stalybridge Labour Club.

Whilst on the subject of Stalybridge, the owners of Judge’s Bar have taken over The Pegs Langtern on St. Albans Avenue, Hartshead. Plans for the pub’s development include the addition of a children’s play area, live entertainment and pub food. We wonder if they would change the spelling of Langtern to Lantern as per its original name. A shuttle bus between Armentieres Square and Pegs Langtern would be nice: perhaps they could run it as the 408.

In other news, plans to convert the former Travellers’ Call into flats have been rejected – on the grounds that development would be unsympathetic to its immediate surroundings. Regular readers of The Ashton Review of Shops might want to suggest other ideas. Like allowing certain people to pop in for a drink from midday to midnight seven days a week. Perhaps it could use its previous name and sell something a bit stronger than PG Tips.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 19 June 2021 at the usual time of 9am. Once again it is later than usual, but we used to put our Ashton Review of Shops bulletins out halfway through the month anyway, back when we started in 2014.

There may also be good reason for the delay as another seminal part of our roadmap to normality unfolds. Will our pubs be fuller and more joyful? Will our taxi drivers be busier? Tune in next month for another window on our borough’s shop windows.

S.V., 15 May 2021.

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