STALLHOLDERS on Ashton-under-Lyne’s market have been told they may impact plans to renovate the area.
Tameside Council has submitted a £10.8 million scheme that would see outside stalls and kiosks it says are currently plagued by anti-social behaviour replaced and placed under a large canopy.
New gardens at Wellington Road, by the Grade Two-listed Ashton Town Hall and the indoor Market Hall would also be created.
Works would also take place on Market Street, improving Fletcher Square which would become a ‘more intimate’ arrival space connecting the east of the town centre with the market grounds.
It would also create a seating and gathering place next to food and drink stalls.
The existing tree avenue on Market Street would be retained, with new seating areas created to encourage people to stop and stay.
The application also includes more planting on Warrington Street, and at the pedestrian area by Clarendon Sixth Form College and Tameside One, as well as improvements to Market Avenue.
But in a report to Tameside Council’s strategic planning cand capital monitoring panel, the authority concedes feedback from those currently on site could impact the final proposal.
It states: “The planning application for the proposed works at Ashton Market Square was submitted on June 19.
“Engagement is continuing with key stakeholders, including market traders, to plan for the delivery phase.
“It is proposed that construction on site will commence in early 2024, however, a further report outlining the conclusion of the detailed design works will be submitted to executive cabinet in November 2023 for final approval.”
Further details were also provided on the other public realm development that is going on.
It adds: “The works at Wellington Road have an estimated completion date of October 27.
“Upcoming works include the excavation of the northern of carriageway and footway along Wellington Road (opposite Tameside One) prior to installing planter and paving and the closure of the eastern footway on Harley Street (the Clarendon College forecourt) to commence the new kerb line and paving of the footway.”
Much has been said about the lack of progress on what is now the former Ashton bus station, which is currently becoming overgrown.
However, once legal checks are complete, they say they will not hang around.
The report continues: “Once the acquisition is completed, the council will be able to commence enabling infrastructure works, comprising land remediation and service diversions, to unlock the site for new uses.
“This work will be undertaken in the context of longer-term opportunities for redevelopment, public realm and movement within the town centre.”
Another element of the scheme is to make Ashton Town Hall fit for purpose and reopened, starting with much-needed repairs to make it watertight.
But Tameside Council warned the rising costs of materials may impact the delivery.
The report states: “Following the completion of the intrusive survey works at Ashton Town Hall, the associated updates to the cost plan for the full scope of external restoration and roof replacement provides an opportunity to reconsider the programme of works and the council’s approach to this building in the long term.
“This will need to be mindful of the impact of significant construction cost inflation over recent months, the need to address immediate health and safety issues and the requirement that the secured Levelling Up Fund grant contribution is utilised by March 31, 2025.
“A long-term phased approach to the future of the building and further external grant funding continues to be required to deliver future phases.
“A further, more detailed, report will be taken to executive cabinet later in 2023 regarding the long-term strategy and proposals for the building.”