Stalybridge regeneration steps forward

PLANS for the regeneration of Stalybridge through Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s Town Centre Challenge has taken a significant step forward.

Tameside Council has advertised for a key post to drive the project forward, an investment and development high street heritage action zone project officer.

It is a full-time post advertised as paying between £38,890 and £40,876.

Stalybridge Civic Hall, Town centre

The job specification read: “The town centre of Stalybridge has exciting potential, with historic architecture, a river and a canal running through the centre, a growing cultural offer, a semi-rural location with great rail links to Manchester and Leeds and a large catchment area.

“In 2018 Stalybridge was agreed as Tameside’s town centre for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Town Centre Challenge, an ambitious initiative to regenerate urban centres across Greater Manchester, securing priority and profile for the regeneration of Stalybridge town centre.

“This is an exciting time for Stalybridge town centre. We are working in partnership with Historic England to deliver the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

“Tameside Council is now looking to recruit an enthusiastic and experienced high street heritage action zone project officer to project manage the development and implementation of the four year HSHAZ programme, which runs until March 2024.

“Historic England’s HSHAZ programme is helping to revitalise historic high streets by building upon local identity and quality of lives through an understanding and celebration of the town’s heritage, the protection of the historic environment and bringing historic buildings back into use.

“The programme is a joint funded series of projects between Tameside Council and Historic England that will engage with building owners to bring physical improvements to buildings of historic and architectural interest.”

The imminent appointment has been described by Councillor Adrian Pearce, chair of the Stalybridge Town Challenge advisory group, as a “very positive first step”.

He added the incumbent’s initial work will focus on Stalybridge Civic Hall, the former market hall.

Cllr Pearce explained that will entail repairs to the roof and working to identify future use for the building which is expected to involve either a market or other retail activities.

He added in the last year there has been interest from several potential partners who have expressed a desire to be involved.

Another key strand will be creating a heritage walk from Stalybridge Station to the Civic Square, funding for which has been secured.

This will entail giving Market Street a facelift which will include bringing disused buildings back into use, improving pavements and street furniture.

It has also been suggested money could be available for the improvement of shop frontages.

Cllr Pearce added the project will dovetail with the regeneration of Stalybridge West, the land behind the railway station and stretching to the town centre.

He said: “This year has been difficult with Covid-19, but this is a very positive first step.

“The holder of the new post should provide the impetus to drive forward the rest of the Town Centre Challenge.”

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