Extension of Ashton Arcades on track

Michael Hunt

The Hark Group has applied for a renewal of its existing planning permission from Tameside Council for an 180,000 sq ft extension to Ashton Arcades shopping centre.

The asset managers' plans for the centre located in Ashton-Under-Lyne will deliver new retail facilities, based around the new Metrolink transport interchange, which is due to be completed in 2013.

The previous planning application for the scheme was granted in 2006 but The Hark Group said it was delayed due to "the recession and widespread halt to development across the UK".

Tameside Council has expressed its full backing for the enhanced shopping centre, which aims to regenerate the area. The scheme is due to be considered by the council at its next planning meeting this month.

Rob Cossey, director of Hark Group, said: "This is an exciting time for Ashton and it's fantastic that with the help of the council, we can now see our plans confirmed. With extensive infrastructure investment in the town centre, Ashton Arcades has a great opportunity to help boost the local economy and bring new jobs to the borough. The completed scheme will provide an excellent modern shopping centre and with an increased public transport facility, attracting additional shoppers to the vibrant heart of the town.

"Hark Group is working closely with the council and partners to deliver a scheme that will build on the success of Metrolink and the new by-pass, to help continue the regeneration of Ashton town centre."

Meanwhile, the Hark Group has secured four new lettings at the Ashton Arcades shopping centre.

Poundland has taken 6,000 sq ft of space at the east Manchester scheme and the fit-out to convert the unit has already commenced.

Independent betting chain Betfred will trade from a 1,000 sq ft unit fronting Katherine Street. Both retailers will be trading from their new stores within a few weeks.

Hark Group has also completed two new deals to bring additional kiosk operators into the Arcades.

BB's Coffee & Muffins has been replaced by coffee chain Bru Station at a 700 sq ft kiosk and NS News has relocated to a new 200 sq ft unit adjacent to Poundland.

David Henderson Williams, from Hark Group, said: "This is positive news for the Arcades. The success of budget retailers in recent times is testament to shoppers' requirements for good value. The Arcades has recorded steady footfall, indicating a return to supporting local retailers, and these lettings will be a welcome addition to the Arcades Shopping Centre, offering further choice for customers. Following the recent news regarding the Metrolink extension, Ashton Arcades will now become more accessible than ever to the Greater Manchester region."

DTZ and Tushingham Moore are the letting agents on the shopping centre. Details of all the rental agreements were not disclosed.

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*Sigh* Ashton doesn’t need another pound shop. Can retailers please give us some decent local shops to go to? I don’t want to shop in the centre of Manchester or venture to the Trafford Centre.

By Tameside Eye

This site is where my home stood in 1954.
I would love to see a map or plans for the new site extension! and transport interchange

By Ian Ashton