BRINGING new life to Hyde town centre will take between 15 and 20 years as redevelopment plans take a step forward.
But it is hoped it will ‘become be a desirable place to live, socialise and shop. It will be a thriving hub for daily urban life.’
Plans to rejuvenate the town, often the centre of rows about a lack of investment and an overall decline, are part of Tameside Council’s strategy on revamping its areas.
The main changes proposed include creating new pedestrianised areas around the town hall and the building to be ‘re-purposed to be a vibrant cultural hub for Hyde and the wider borough.’
Its markets will be re-located to ‘new, high quality facilities in a prime location on Market Place,’ a re-imagined shopping area, with wide tree lined streets connecting all areas of the town centre and parking areas may be moved.
It is also hoped to create an improved public area, along with traffic calming to create safe, welcoming pedestrian routes from key public transport facilities.
Tameside Council’s executive cabinet voted to progress with the scheme after a report stated: “Hyde Triangle, which includes Godley Green, Hattersley and Hyde town centre, will ensure that these major drivers for change support the wider regeneration of the town centre.”
But this will not be a quick fix.
And a consultation, where everyone to have their say on the draft vision and masterplan proposals, has taken place.
Since September 2022, the consultant team has led a series of meetings and workshops with businesses, residents’ groups, students, and other stakeholders.
The initial fact-finding survey received more than 1,300 responses and about 200 people attended in-person events including the pop-up shop in the Clarendon Centre.
A report adds: “The whole Hyde town centre redevelopment is a 15 to 20-year programme with short term, medium term and long-term goals that will holistically deal with the town centre and the surrounding area that feeds it.”
And members of the public pointed out what they feel needs to be done, including celebrating and utilising Hyde’s historic buildings – including Union Street library.
They also told them to improve the market square increasing planting, greenery and public furniture and improve the market offer, including more stalls.
Creating more traffic free areas, improving the appearance of the town centre’s shop fronts and buildings, encouraging more small independent businesses to establish in the town by offering incentives including reducing business rates and introducing free parking were also put forward.
The struggles Hyde currently faces were told in no uncertain terms as 99 per cent of people said it could be improved.
Of 1,339 respondents, only four said it should stay as it is.
90 per cent of people who responded to a survey felt improved food and beverage shops and stalls are needed.
Few felt Hyde had an interesting range of shops and said there are few places within the town centre to socialise.
Only three per cent responded positively to the existing outdoor market while only 12 per cent are likely to stay in the town centre for more than two hours.
In fact, surrounding towns like Stockport and Glossop were cited, with independent shops, cafes, restaurants, nightlife and the atmosphere as the main reason.
Tameside Council was also told about a lack of character, the poor/scruffy appearance, the dominance of takeaways, lack of night-time economy and a perception that the town centre did not feel safe.
Documents also state: “The Town Hall is a key asset for the town centre, though underused it must be a focal point for regeneration of the area.
“Busy Market Street separates core areas of the town centre Fixed market stalls reduce the flexibility of the square, block views through the area and are a potential source of antisocial behaviour.
“‘Big box’ forms in the town centre dominate and block pedestrian movement through the area, especially when closed.
“Pedestrian and cycle routes from both the bus station and train station must be improved into the town centre.”
Consultants HemingwayDesign and GL Hearn have been employed to guide the masterplan and the cabinet report insisted: “Hyde town centre will become be a desirable place to live, socialise and shop. It will be a thriving hub for daily urban life.
“Cultural resurgence is at the heart of the masterplan and this will define the area’s future reinforcing its distinctive character, allowing Hyde to flourish and find its own identity within the context of Greater Manchester and the north west.
“There are signs and evidence of a resurgence in some town centres. These centres have evolved and introduced a wide range of uses including food and drink, leisure and culture.
“It is vital that the regeneration of Hyde benefits from best practise in more successful town centres have done to revive themselves and build on the unique character of Hyde and the local people.
“In respect of Hyde market, the continued decline of the market has not only an adverse impact on council revenue streams but also in the overall vitality and viability of the market and the across the town.”
Now the cabinet has voted to progress, May saw a formal consultation on the draft masterplan for a period of four weeks.
June saw a review of comments and response and it is hoped the masterplan will go forward for approval in August.
Wayne Hemingway, partner at HemingwayDesign, said: “The response from the community has been extremely encouraging and positive and has shaped the draft plans.
“People know that change is needed (only four said it should stay the same), 85 per cent want more places to socialise, 94 per cent want more interesting shops and, 83 per cent want better places to eat and drink, 83 per cent more cultural events.
“So the messages are clear and it’s up to everyone involved from businesses to the council, to landlords and landowners and budding entrepreneurs and creative minds to try and bring about the positive change that people want and Hyde deserves.
“The draft vision and masterplan proposals for Hyde town centre have been shaped by 1,500 residents, workers and visitors of Hyde who shared valuable insight during the initial fact-finding period.
“We believe the proposals are a true representation of the engagement thus far and we look forward to receiving further feedback to inform the preparation of the final masterplan report.”
To view the plans go to www.thinkhydetowncentre.co.uk.