Hyde Market Place Sepia

Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, January 2021: The Ashton Review of Shops

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

We hope our regular readers, old and new, have a Happy New Year. What we mustn’t lose sight of is the fact 2021 could be another bumpy one. The end of this year could see the loss of a few familiar High Street names. We might get to have a pub pint by then!

On New Year’s Eve, more parts of England fell under Tier 4, which means the closure of non-essential retail premises. This is due to another more contagious mutation of COVID-19 first seen in the South East of England. Our City Region also fell into Tier 4, which means travel for essential means, such as exercising or shopping for much-needed items.

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Ashton Under Lyne, November 2020

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

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

At this time of writing, four days have passed since the second lockdown. Greater Manchester is back in Tier 3, which in layperson’s terms is a watered-down version of the lockdown we came out of earlier. It means, for at least a fortnight (best case scenario), we cannot go to the pub.

Across the UK, the prognosis for wet-led pubs (which makes up a substantial chunk of Tameside’s licensed premises) and bricks and mortar stores is very grim.

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Wilko, Ashton-under-Lyne (Tameside One)

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

This month’s bare essentials only window on the shop windows

A lot has happened in the last month to our bars and retail premises. Thanks to the second wave of COVID-19 cases, we are now in the midst of a second lockdown. It is anticipated that England’s circuit-breaking lockdown would last until the 02 December.

In Tameside, along with the other nine boroughs that make up Greater Manchester, we had been in Tier 3 which has meant the closure of wet-led pubs. Since Thursday, Lockdown 2.0 (as it has been dubbed in some sources) would see the closure of non-essential shops.

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Foodbank Bus Delivery

Stagecoach Canteen Changes Sees Surplus Food Sent to Food Banks

Why Stagecoach Greater Manchester donated supplies to five food banks in the city region

Stagecoach driver Joanne Morgan unloads food donations from the bus to the food bank at United Estates of Wythenshawe.

There is a famous episode of On The Buses* when Luxton and District decide to change the canteen facilities. After a few complaints about the food portions and Messrs Butler and Co. wanting a bit more than two pork sausages, the canteen staff are replaced by a wall of vending machines. Thankfully, this didn’t happen with Stagecoach Greater Manchester, after a change of canteen supplier. Their changes left the canteens of our city region’s leading bus operator with an abundance of baked beans, a bounty of bread, and a cornucopia of coffee granules. Not to mention a multitude of meat pies.

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Arcades Shopping Centre and open market

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

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.

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

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

Has normality resumed? Well, in the last six weeks, there was some liberalisation of the lockdown conditions. Then, stricter conditions of our lockdown were imposed – announced only hours before coming into force. Our neighbours in Oldham had even stricter conditions imposed, some 300 yards short of a full lockdown.

On the other hand, football has returned to our borough, albeit with the loss of one of Tameside’s most formidable teams. Plus we got a new bus station.

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Wilko, Ashton-under-Lyne (Tameside One)

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!

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Can You Have a Full Yorkshire Picnic?

Feast of the M60 asks if you can have an all-Yorkshire picnic

With relatives on both sides of the Pennines, I could claim dual nationality status if in the unlikely event that Yorkshire secedes from Westminster rule. Thanks to the lockdown and yours truly not having left Greater Manchester since then, a strange thought occurred to me: “Could you have an all-Yorkshire picnic?”

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Rishi’s Meal Deal: Let Them Eat Luncheon Vouchers

Midweek meal ticket plan offers no real deal for families hit by Coronavirus

In the last two days since Chancellor Rishi Sunak made his Summer Statement, I was reminded of two things. The first was a children’s television programme which inspired two stunning C64 games. The second one was a more contemporary reference: a radio advert for Confused.com with references to cheap carbonara. In the advert, there is some confusion over cheap car insurance deals or cheap pasta meals.

I shall focus on the latter reference as few people under the age of 30 would have heard of Junior Kickstart. (Unless they have Half Man Half Biscuit’s This Leaden Pall LP where it is mentioned on the final track, Footprints). Kickstart (as in Sunak’s future employment programme) may be dealt with in a separate East of the M60 post.

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Wilko, Ashton-under-Lyne (Tameside One)

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

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

By the time you have read this, you may have had your first pint in a pub in 14 weeks. Instead of celebrating this, your first pint in a pub since lockdown might be your last for a while because of recent redundancy announcements. You might be afraid of catching the Coronavirus due to increased footfall and changes to social distancing measures.

This Saturday will be no ordinary one at that. More shops will be opening, as well as our pubs and restaurants. For many regular and not-so-regular pub goers, the experience will be an unprecedented one.

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