BUSINESSES in Stalybridge’s town centre face chaos after they were told a large part of a major road will be closed for up to four months.
Market Street between Melbourne Street and Water Street will be shut from May 2 as delayed work is done on the much-heralded heritage walkway.
And other parts will not have traffic along it for a further three, meaning almost the entire remainder of 2023 will see diversions.
In a statement, Tameside Council told business and home owners in the area: “Work to re-lay the northern footway on Market Street, including the introduction of additional ducting to allow for future services to be laid, was completed in March 2023.
“As you know, work on site then paused due to a delay in the supply of materials required for stage two.
“The delivery date for the materials has now been confirmed and work will re-commence on the next stage of the work from the week commencing May 2, 2023.
“As stated in previous updates and notifications about the project, in order to allow for the next stage of improvement works to take place parts of Market Street will be closed to through traffic from May 2, 2023 for up to seven months.
“The closures will be put in place in stages to allow for the work to be completed and phased closures managed.
“The first stage of the closure from the junction of Water Street to Melbourne Street will take place from the May 2, 2023 for up to four months.”
That news has been greeted with dismay by people who own businesses in the affected area.
Those behind My Wendy House, on Market Street, said: “Worried for the weeks ahead.
“We will still be open, I know our lovely customers will support us, however we have no way for deliveries and the council won’t allow ANY access.”
Businesses are receiving letters from Tameside Council’s director of place, Julian Jackson, showing the diversion route, which takes vehicles up Melbourne Street, along Castle Street and down Water Street.
Signs have already appeared on Market Street from this week and the authority is working with the refuse teams to ensure that bin collections are maintained and will ensure that refuse collection points are provided.
He also admitted the work will cause ‘inevitable disruption’ but added: “We want to thank you for your understanding of some of the inevitable disruption these works will cause.
“However, this work is part of the wider investment programme in Stalybridge and will provide long-term benefit to the area.”
Much has been made of Stalybridge’s heritage walkway since a £1.1 million budget, with £610,000 coming from Historic England, was announced.
Whether work done so far has made any difference has been questioned and the sight of overflowing bins along Market Street is also the source of conjecture.
However, the council believes it will make a difference, when it is completed, along with other public realm work after it secured almost £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.