Ashton Market Square NEW, Tameside Council, p Buttress Architects

Approval of a new market for Ashton angered some. Credit: via Buttress Architects

Tameside responds to accusations of Ashton favouritism

“We are focused on regenerating all of our town centres.” That was the retort from the council, having received criticism from residents who believe some parts of the borough are being left behind. 

Ashton has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. In September plans for an overhauled market were approved, while the council has also formally established the Ashton Mayoral Development Zone.

The AMDZ is aimed at driving growth across three locations: Ashton Moss, St Petersfield, and Ashton town centre. 

Stories written by Place North West on these projects sparked a deluge of comments from disgruntled Tamesiders, who claim Ashton is being given preferential treatment over places including Hyde, Stalybridge, and Droylsden. 

One said: “Tameside is far more than Ashton-under-Lyne, although our council conveniently forget that. If they want to improve Tameside, start investing in the infrastructure and facilities of Denton, Stalybridge, Dukinfield, Mossley, Hattersley, and Carrbrook in a meaningful way to uplift the whole area.” 

Another said the disparity in funding for Tameside’s towns was “alarming”. 

“It seems the council only has ambitions for one of its towns,” they said. 

St Petersfield is one of three locations within Ashton MDZ’s scope. Credit: TODD Architects

In a statement sent to Place, Tameside Council refuted the accusation that Ashton was getting a disproportionate amount of funding and attention, insisting work to improve other places is ongoing. 

The statement said: “For several years, we have been investing in Droylsden, Stalybridge, and Hyde alongside our other town centres in line with our Inclusive Growth Strategy aims and objectives to regenerate and improve the borough and attract investment for the benefit of Tameside as a whole.” 

Stalybridge  

In Stalybridge, work to restore the town’s civic hall is ongoing thanks to funding the council secured through the government’s High Street Heritage Action Zone initiative. 

The repair work on the Civic Hall started internally in August 2023 and will continue until spring 2024, the council said. 

Stalybridge is also being supported by the £20m Capital Regeneration Programme funds awarded from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for Stalybridge in March 2023. 

The town may also still be benefitting from the “significant profile and funding” it gained from being named as Tameside’s Greater Manchester Challenge Town Centre, according to the council. 

“There are a number of projects underway across the town which have come to fruition as a result of the priorities set through the Town Centre Challenge, which aim to improve the public realm, and profile the town’s heritage to help attract additional investment to Stalybridge.”  

Hyde town centre Tameside Council Google Earth snapshot

The town hall and Clarendon Shopping Centre are the focus of the Hyde masterplan. Credit: Google Earth

Hyde 

A masterplan for Hyde aimed at revitalising the town is being finalised following approval of a draft at Tameside Council’s executive cabinet meeting in March. 

Adoption of the masterplan could see Hyde Town Hall brought back into use, Clarendon Shopping Centre redeveloped, and upgrades to the town’s market. 

The council said: “A re-imagined shopping area with more greenery and landscaping, improved public realm, and better pedestrian areas – including traffic calming measures to create safe and welcoming environment – will help to make Hyde a great place to live, work and visit to meet the needs of current and future generations.” 

Droylsden  

Last week, Tameside Council secured £100,000 from Homes England and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to kickstart a project to make Droylsden “a more vibrant town centre”, the council said. 

“The creation of a masterplan will help join Droylsden Shopping Centre and the Greenside Lane Retail Park, currently owned by New Era, which are intrinsically linked with the council-owned Concorde Suite building.” 

Councils will always have to deal with accusations of favouritism. Issues around resources and funding mean it is simply impossible to do everything, everywhere, all at once. 

This is no different in Tameside, where the backlash prompted by a perception of favouritism illustrates the importance of ongoing consultation and communication with communities.

“We will always seek opportunities to bring further investment into Tameside and will continue to bid for funding pots where they become available,” the council said. 

“We remain committed as always to improving all of our town centres across the borough.”

Your Comments

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There doesn’t like there has been much investment in Hyde. The place is falling down.

By Elephant

Tameside Council secured £100,000 from Homes England and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to kickstart a project to make Droylsden “a more vibrant town centre”, the council said.

I’m sorry but that’s the cost of a terrace house in the town. Only some private investment will change things or a bigger council budget. The town centre needs more housing to offset the cost with retail units underneath

By Tomo

I really appreciate whoever has challenged the council on this and the level of dissatisfaction amongst people in tameside. This many people can’t be wrong. thank you

By Anonymous

Maybe they could provide a breakdown of what has been spent/funded in each area to back up their claims.

By Oddbob

Be specific about what investment droylsden has seen, because we re haven’t seen any!

By Joanne Hopkins

Take back control. Dissolve these artificial “efficient” mega-authorities and give power back to the towns of Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. Local public enterprise is more effective and more appropriate to local needs.

By Anonymous

Absolutely disgusted with Tameside Council
Spending more money on a market that nobody wants to use and after they supposedly revamped it a few years ago.
What about Droylsden it’s like a ghost town
I want a decent local town centre that I can walk to and so do most people I speak
to.

By Kaye nixon

@ October 13, 2023 at 1:35 pm
By Anonymous

A good point. Town councils should be resurrected. Independent councillors for a particular town should also be elected – Bolton have a number of independent councillors elected for specific towns within their borough to name but a few!

By Rye&Eggs

@ tomo, as far as I understand it the 100k related to droylsden is to develop the plan. Which us great until they realise there’s no money to do any of the work as the whole budget has been spent elsewhere (cough ashton cough)

By Anonymous

I live in Dukinfield with a limited bus service and very little shops or interesting places for entertainment. Nothing around here for young adults and old. No mention of any regeneration here.

By Anonymous

Must be why Venice is starting to be called ‘the Ashton of the south.’

By Anonymous

The thing is – the council are being made to apply for money piecemeal for specific projects by this s*it show of a government. Why can’t the money for X project be spent on Y or Z? Because it’s ringfenced by central government who have also massively cut council funding over the last 13 years. It’s an attack on local democracy – I can’t wait until they’re booted out.

By Anonymous

Another face-lift for Ashton, no surprise there, we have new mini gardens springing up everywhere in Denton, shame they are all in the grids as they never get cleaned

By Anon

I think what Droylsden needs it for the whole centre and tesco to be levelled and start again. My own master plan would be open up the canal arm upto Greenside with a basin. With a pedestrians street along it with restaurants and bars along it, above with homes. Have underground parking and a linear park/sqaure with shops hotel a new central health hub. Move the little theatre into the centre, have a retirement village etc etc have a new tesco fronting the main road with parking underneath. So so much can be done. Im just worried the council will do it on the cheap. The gmpf hq is Droylsden is worth £28 billion! Invest in your home town!!!

By Droylsden resident

Like two bald men arguing over a comb

By Anonymous

Stalybridge has been let down since Tameside concil began. They turned our market into a civic centre nothing gone right since we became one go back to s.h.m.d

By Barrydickinson.

The work listed by the council as being done in Stalybridge doesn’t seem to be having a positive outcome for Market Street. The road has been closed for months now for ‘improvements’ which may look attractive when completed, but seem to be narrowing the road in places, removing valuable on-street parking for businesses. Those same businesses are suffering from lack of footfall due to how long this work is taking. We have lots of new apartment blocks which, again, look attractive – but at the same time shops are closing, units are left empty, and our last bank is due to close next year. I realise that I can’t blame the council entirely for the plight of the high street, but what is the point of spending money on projects which do not improve the functionality of Stalybridge? The market hall roof has needed a new roof for over a decade – it has been left until it costs way more than the original quote to fix. At least that will have a purpose, but the work has waited too long. Yes, Stalybridge is having money spent on it, but at what cost to the local businesses and it’s residents? I’m not sure the council’s priorities are in line with what it’s residents want or need.

By Andrea K

£100,000 for Droylsden won’t do anything, there is nothing left here so they would be starting from scratch.

By Craig Seddon

The Concorde Suite Droylsden ( Council owned ) has been left empty for years even though private investors have proposed to find new uses for it possibly a small hotel.The only use for it at the moment seems to be the communication masts on top of it for which I’m sure the council must be paid handsomely.There’s no reason for anybody to get off the tram and first impressions of Droylsden centre would put people off.

By William Rodgers

Can you please publish cash investment figures for each of the towns in tameside not just talk or what is ‘proposed’ in some future dream. Everyone knows TMBC is focused on Ashton.

By Bernie McBeetie

No investment in mossley or carrbrook,wasting £11 million on another revamp of the market, bus station is still an eyesore. Who makes these decisions. Affordable housing should come first.

By Anonymous

Certainly feels true for Hyde, but can’t say Stalybridge seems overlooked. Once completed Trans Pennine upgrade will leave Stalybridge as one of the best connected centres across GM, with superb green space within walking distance, & some great community assets (town hall, gallery) all getting investment & being brought back to life.
More development akin to what Urban Splash have done with Castle St. & easy to see Stalybridge, not Ashton, really take off

By Anonymous

Ashton Market Place has only just been finished, so why is more money being spent on it

By Anonymous

I have lived in Denton all my life and I am now in my mid seventies.When Denton had it’s own town council before Tameside was formed it was a much nicer place to live.I suppose that you have got to move with the times but Denton has become very much over developed with more and more housing estates being built and all the open green spaces are disappearing. Denton used to have thriving factories and industry but now most people have to find work outside Denton.There are far too many fast food takeaways in the region of Crown Point and litter everywhere. There are not enough car parks and the streets are clogged up with vehicles many of which are parked on double yellow lines but there are no police or wardens to stop this.
The Council Tax for homeowners in Denton are very high and the funding that goes to TMBC is not fairly distributed to smaller towns other than Ashton Under Lyne.
No doubt that the Council Tax will be going up again in April 2024 and the Labour Council will justify this by blaming the Government for lack of funding and the additional levelling up funding.

By Mr Paul Griffiths

Tameside Council and it’s many masterplans… Why do they always have a new masterplan, well that’s because the last one they implemented was a load of tosh and needs redoing; look at the plan for Ashton, it was redone not that long ago, turned out to be rubbish so now they’re spending a fortune to cover it with a tarpaulin!

They revamped Hyde years back, and by revamped I mean took away most of the outdoor market and installed these flowerbeds that looked like they’d been robbed from a cemetery. Market Street is a joke, if it’s not a takeaway or money laundering front it’s shut or that dilapidated it looks like it should be.

Problem is, people keep voting for these idiots… You get what you pay for!

By Anonymous

Don’t seem to see anything mentioned about Dukinfield in any of these redevelopments. Maybe I have missed something?

By Anonymous

Why spend that amount of money on a market, a tram system and state of the art bus station when there are no shops to visit? Ashton is full of takeaways where gangs of youths congregate and pound shops where scumbags rob elderly people. Money needs spending on securing brand named shops, reducing shop rents to attract more businesses and making Ashton a safe place for people to visit because at present it isn’t, no matter how much the council deny it.
Hyde and Droylsden have just been abandoned by the council. There is no reason to visit either location unless your looking for a pub 🤷‍♂️

By Ashton resident

What a waste of money ,they want to try spending the money on good ventures,market hall is losing stall holders as the council are constantly putting up rents they are a waste of space

By Anonymous

The issue of Ashton being given preference in terms of development and the subsequent retail growth and spending from ‘footfall’ is not new. It goes back to the 1970s with the decision to site the (now demolished) Tameside Civic Centre in Ashton. Many of Tameside’s Town centres – particularly Ashton, Hyde and Dukinfielzd are now virtually derelict. As regards Ashton in particular, the rot was conceived in the 1960s when the then Ashton Borough Council approved the construction of the original Metrolands shopping precinct – a brutal carbuncle which detracted businesses away from the old Stamford Street / Old Street ‘grid iron’ settlement laid down in the 19th century. This could have been updated and the magnetic character of the town retained.

By Julian Cadbury

Tameside council certainly know how to waste money with huge amounts spent on consultant fees and little actual construction. Look at Stockport and their plan for growth for some ideas.

By Anonymous

There hasn’t been any investment in Hyde. The council can’t afford to repair the Town Hall Clock, so they say. So if they can’t afford that what hope is there for Hyde.

By Bobby

What about Mossley. We seem to be forgotten by Tameside except when they want to sell something off.

By Anonymous

Not seen much happening in Carrbrook

By Mike Pollard

Don’t agree. Ashton had always been the council’s priority. Where are these improvements in other areas. Talk is cheap.

By Anonymous

As usual nothing for Dukinfield. We rarely even warrant a mention

By Caroline Howard

No mention of Mossley as usual

By Anonymous

Tameside MBC tell a good tale, but have nothing to show for it. In Stralybridge, TMBC committed two historic acts of gross vandalism – the demolition of the Grade 2 Listed Town Hall in 1990 following years of neglect, and the destruction of the Riverside walk, paid for by ratehpayers and an asset to the town, in 2005. In Stalybridge the centre has been designated a “Conservation Area” – but you wouldn’t know it. Two buildings are in a dangerous state of disrepair, while the historic fishmarket has been botched by amateur builders and abandoned. The Victoria Market Hall was closed abruptly in 2003, and for the past 20 years has served no significant purpose, while at the same time being allowed to rot, resulting in a £3M bill for roof repairs . Ourt local council talks the talk, enjoys grandstanding over projects that come to nothing, and are totally unfit for pupose.

By Paul White

As far as I can see, NO money has been spent on Hyde for a long while, and as far as this plan they are commenting on to re develop Hyde, it’s over the next 10 to 25 years, what use is that, plus the new parking charges are killing Hyde Town centre

By Anonymous

Tameside council spent £800,000 refurbishing Hyde library, which they then closed and allowed to fall into massive disrepair. It is now up for sale. I have no faith in anything this council proposes and even less in what they deliver. The proposals for Ashton market will go ahead and within a couple of years it will be neglected, an eyesore and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

By Anonymous

How many times have the council rebuilt Ashton bus Station and Ashton Market .While killing off Droylsden Market and precinct shops ,the place is dead now . Oh wait we do have some new drinking dens .

By Anonymous

Hyde was a brilliant town. Now it’s like a ghost town full of pound shots, charity shops, shops that have different names every six months but never open and far too many take aways. You can’t buy anything to wear unless you go to Asda. There are no wool shops, no fruit and vegetable shops, no fish ships etc etc . It’s been ruined by planners that don’t even live in the area. There is no variety at all. And it looks really scruffy. There used to be a vibrant market until the glass mall was put up. Coach loads of people used to come from over the Pennines to do here and indeed in Ashton which has had the life sucked out of it too. However it has had hundreds of thousands pounds thrown at it to no avail. Tameside needs a change of the powers that be- it’s in a mess.

By Anonymous

Tameside unfortunately is an unthinking one-party state, so gets everything it deserves.

The money and investment put into Ashton is like pumping oxygen into a corpse until the fundamental issue of education inequality is addressed; unfortunately it simply is not valued here, hence the grotesque inequalities evident on every street corner – smoking, truancy, drug-taking/dealing, criminal behaviour, anti-social behaviour, queues at Greggs, and the rest; it is the most depressing town I have seen in England.

The other eight towns of Tameside have been neglected also, and Droylsden is a good example of every investment happening in spite of the Council who have had little to do with the excellent quality housing developments at the Marina, Waters Edge, and the Robertson’s jam site.

It would be interesting to hear from the anonymous Council source as to what exactly they thin’k they have contributed to the development of the centre of Droylsden, because most people who live here think it amounts to a big fat zero.

All the significant investment in Droylsden over recent years had been in spite of, not because of Tameside Council who can’t even be bothered to put bins around the Marina area which is one of the most attractive spots in the town.

Tameside Council deserves all the criticisms they get; they simply don’t care.

By AltPoV

It’s not just the towns that need looking after. Hollingworth is not good either. Houses left empty, streets looking scruffy as well.

By Anonymous

Yet the vast majority of those who are so critical of the council will still dutifully vote Labour at the next Local Elections.

By Anonymous

What about Denton? This town gets nothing spent on it. In the 30 + years I’ve lived here, nothing much has improved. Money always goes to Ashton. Our transport system is appalling. Much more could be done to improve the area but the council are not interested.

By Jacqueline

To Jacqueline. Denton has had a new swimming pool which is great. Also you have the crown point shopping area so compared to some areas you have had good investment

By Droylsden resident

£100,000 to be spent on Droylsden? You cannot be serious?, Ashton gets the lions share as per usual . In fact £100,000 would’nt buy a single home in the area.No market, no banks, cheap shops abound on the car park area, that said if you want a hair cut ,your nails done or place a bet this is the place for you.Tameside council have neglected this town, shame on you.

By Clive

When is regeneration in Ashton under Lyne town centre to begin??Plenty of promises but nothing materialises.Ashton has the schools, colleges and fantastic transport links, some of the best in the North. West,unfortunately the rest of the town centre is not utilised.There is nothing to encourage new businesses and l don’t think one bedroom flats will do much to enhance the town centre.Continually throwing money at an outdoor market that should have been left alone in the first place has been a shamefull waste !!

By Anonymous

Ashton under lyne was awarded twenty million pounds and this was announced in the House of Commons.Not much evidence of it being used to be honest.

By Ann E.

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