TAMESIDE Council is to introduce a new task force for Hyde after a report told the authority improvements can be made to its make up, fabric and reputation if everyone gets together.
And the empty units that seem to be growing through its centre can in fact be an opportunity.
A High Street Task Force (HSTF) study, under the banner of ‘Unlocking Your Place Potential’ found the town – often the subject of moans it does not get enough attention – can be improved.
However, it was summed up by saying: “The HSTF Expert has identified ‘collaborative working’ as the main barrier to transformation in Hyde town centre.
“A joined up approach is required to deliver this change and the formation of a Hyde Town Centre Task Force will provide the platform to drive the work forward, to act as a critical friend in the preparation of the town centre masterplan and to ensure that the local community have a voice in how they would like to see Hyde in years to come.”
Now that task force is to be put in place after Tameside Council’s executive cabinet accepted the report’s suggestion.
Hyde is the subject of plans for regeneration, with the controversial Godley Green Garden Village at its heart.
And some say a revamp is exactly what it needs, with the report paying attention to falling footfall rates and a growing number of empty units.
It adds: “Footfall and vacant units are key indicators of a town centre’s vitality and viability; it tells us much about the nature of high streets, how they are used, and how they are changing.
“A focus on looking at how some of the vacant units can be repurposed and providing a more attractive offer/increasing the current under-supply of food and drink, convenience goods in the town centre will help increase dwell time and footfall.
“Although a high vacancy rate can be seen as a symptom of decline, it does present an opportunity to change and adapt a centre by encouraging new and diverse activities to take up space often left by retailers.
“However, in the short term, there needs to be an exploration of meanwhile uses and some quick wins for the town.
“We also believe Hyde can further improve its chances of securing additional funding/wider investment, to deliver its vision and any masterplan, by providing more appropriate and detailed baseline data.”
And Councillor Oliver Ryan, Tameside Council’s executive member for finance and economic growth, backed the task force coming into being.
He said: “By implementing these recommendations we are providing Hyde with a structure of strong partnerships that can progress the town centre masterplan.
“We’re lucky to have such ambitious stakeholders and local organisations working alongside the High Street Task Force to create this masterplan and make Hyde town centre somewhere we can all be proud of.”
The HSTF report does list Hyde’s strengths, including local people sharing a pride for its town centre, a strong local identity and rich history, Hyde Town Team and POP and its transport links.
And Tameside Council lists work on re-purposing of the former Library site on Union Street, with potentially an 88 unit one and two-bedroomed apartment complex with a café and care provision earmarked, as progress.
Their report states: “This will provide a southern gateway into the town and will kick start other interventions and underpin further regeneration work.
“There is an opportunity to deliver real change in the town centre, to regenerate Hyde and make it a thriving town centre with a high quality offer that meet the needs of the local population as well give people a reason to visit Hyde.”