RESIDENTS are being asked to help shape Hyde for the 21st century.It comes in the wake of Tameside Council recently receiving £100,000 from the One Public Estate/ British Property Federation Futures Challenge to carry out a feasibility study.
The money has enabled the Hyde Town Centre Consultation, part of the feasibility study, to get under way with the public having their say on ‘reinvigorating’ it.
The council’s publicity said: “In order to take this forward, we would value your views, ideas and suggestions on shopping, leisure, market, housing and health provision locations
And as part of the exercise, they were asked for their views at Clarendon Square Shopping Centre on Saturday, March 14.
The post-it notes placed on the wall of the empty shop contained a plethora of suggestions for improving the town centre.
They included a more visible presence for the indoor market which was said to be hidden away.
“It you didn’t know it was there, you would walk past it,” one note declared.
Others cited a need for a wider variety of shops, better parking, too many yellow lines, market ground doesn’t work, surfaces bad on market ground, more leisure facilities, re-use of public buildings, more inviting in the evening, more disabled toilets, railway station needs to be user friendly
There were compliments such as ‘better than Stockport’ and ‘love the shops, everything within walking distance, shops are good value’.
Another remarked philosophically, ‘high street won’t go back to how it was, but like the traditional banter, atmosphere etc’.
Cllr Oliver Ryan, Tameside Council executive member for finance and economic growth, explained the council is looking “outside the box”.
He said: “There is a nice space opposite the town hall, an iconic building.
“In Europe they have lovely squares with things to do, something that could be envisaged there.
“People come to shop, but perhaps don’t do anything else.
“We want to make Hyde town centre more of an attraction, a destination, but we are wide open to ideas.”
Anne Heath, from Tameside Council’s growth directorate, was pleased with the feedback.
She explained: “Some people said the town centre was not as good as it used to be, but others still loved it.
“They described it as friendly, welcoming with nice shops, though it needed more variety.
“There was a feeling there ought to be more of a community hub in the town centre and we need to find something to wrap around the town centre of bring people in.”
Anne continued: “We asked people to give us honest opinions about what they would like in Hyde.
“We cannot promise to deliver, but we need to take on board what the people of Hyde think.”
Amy and Chris Wood, from ABC Nursery, Onward Street, came to have a look as they are situated in the town centre.
“There is no plan in place yet, but we wanted to come along, have a look and ask questions,” explained Chris.
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Tameside Council’s executive leader, was joined by Hyde and Mottram councillors at the consultation day in Hyde.
She said: “I was really pleased with the engagement from the community, both retail and shoppers.
“It was very positive and there were lots of suggestions about improving the town centre.”
Cllr Warrington explained they encompassed the market, transport and bringing more healthcare in Hyde town centre.
She said: “One lady suggested more day care for older people in the town centre, somewhere for them to congregate and get involved in the community
“We have the Grafton Centre, but that is on the edge of the town centre.”
Though Tameside Council was unsuccessful with a bid to the Future High Street Fund, Cllr Ryan, explained they are constantly bidding for money to help regenerate Hyde as well as Stalybridge which also lost out on a bid to the Future High Streets Fund.
• Residents can still contribute to the consultation by going online to www.tameside.gov.uk/hydeconsultation