Stalybridge’s future detailed in new Framework

STALYBRIDGE has been identified as holding ‘great potential’ and can follow Manchester city centre in becoming a location where people want to live as well as work.

That is the claim in a new framework that has been drawn up to co-ordinate the regeneration projects in the area.

Rather than have different documents for different schemes, Tameside Council has drawn up one document encompassing everything.

And it makes clear just what it believes can happen.

Works are ongoing on the long-awaited Heritage walkway on Market Street in Stalybridge. Image by GGC Media

It states: “The council has identified Stalybridge town centre as one of its priority areas to deliver the objectives of the Tameside Inclusive Growth Strategy in making our town centres hubs for living, culture, employment and services supporting a sustainable retail sector.

“The Framework has been prepared to provide an overarching strategy for the delivery of major regeneration, to attract new investment, support the future development of formal planning policy, and help to avoid piecemeal development.

“It will build on the strengths of Stalybridge with specific reference to its character and built heritage, excellent transport links locally and regionally, future development sites held by the council and new opportunities such as sustainable town centre living.”

Among the schemes planned are the redevelopment of the town centre, including a new multi-storey car park at Waterloo Street and a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Tame close to Caroline Street.

But the document also pointed out the area’s issues, as well as its need to adapt.

It adds: “While 11.5 per cent of spend remains in Stalybridge, it is the supermarkets that are the principal beneficiary which does little to benefit the wider town centre in terms of vibrancy.

“Stalybridge is found to have a higher proportion of convenience retail floor space than other centres, and a lower proportion of service uses. In addition, units are small in size.

“The most under-represented sub-sectors were restaurants, cafes, takeaways and clothing. The lack of leisure and service uses and the over-provision of general retail indicates a potential weakness in the centre’s vitality.

Litter bins along Market Street have been greatly criticised for a number of years

“It was the worst performing centre in terms of cleanliness of shopping streets, personal safety and policing, shelter from the weather, ease of movement on foot and accessibility by bus.

“There will be a need for Stalybridge to adapt with a diversification of offer and increase of other uses, including residential.

“The existing public realm in the town centre provides a poor physical environment with limited landscaping and greenery. Many buildings in the town centre are in a poor physical condition.

“Without investment, historic buildings may fall into further disrepair, disuse and eventually dereliction.

“In contrast, by activating the spaces and providing the opportunity to grow the cultural offering in the town centre, Stalybridge may generate a stronger sense of civic pride while attracting visitors and follow-on investment.”

Redevelopment plans for Stalybridge

The Correspondent told how up to 434 homes with a development value of £80 million-£100 million – that figure has risen to 1,000 involving a number of sites, including the former clinic, the derelict Rose and Crown pub and land at Harrop Street and next to Caroline Street.

The document, drawn up for the meeting of Tameside Council’s executive cabinet on Wednesday, January 24, emphasised the positives it could bring.

It continues: “Delivery of the Stalybridge West Opportunity Area will create a vibrant town centre residential community in a highly sustainable location that will support the local economy.

“This Framework indicates the town could support the development of up to 1,000 additional dwellings.

“Assuming the delivery of up to 1,000 additional residential units, the following benefits could be generated.

Stalybridge Civic Hall

“£12,053,000 in tax revenue, including more than £1 million in council tax. Increasing open space, community sport and leisure spending by £806,200 – the equivalent of 45 five-a-side football pitches, and the same figure for education spending, the equivalent of 380 classroom spaces.

“Provision of town centre living will meet the local need for a range of dwelling types and will contribute to making Stalybridge a location of choice.

“From studying Manchester city centre, early adopters of urban living tend to be young singles and couples with higher disposable incomes who are drawn to the lifestyle, connectivity and dwelling type offered.

“That young population was subsequently bolstered by young families and older retirees.

“The identification of council assets and interests which could potentially deliver ‘early wins’ should become a catalyst for wider change.

“By creating a new town centre neighbourhood, with a broader range and type of new residential occupiers, there is a clear opportunity to create a demand for retail, leisure and employment uses which are more local and independent than would otherwise be the case.”

The document details use of the Civic Hall, formerly known as Victoria Market, once its roof repairs are completed.

And while that and the neighbouring library and art gallery will themselves be transformed, with an internal lift being installed at the latter, they will influence the future face of Stalybridge.

“Collectively these two Grade II-listed buildings will form the town centre Cultural Quarter,” the Framework says. “As the repair works to the Civic Hall are completed, the council will seek to progress a programme of activity including the potential for markets, food and drink events, music, theatre, comedy and arts/cultural exhibition events.

“Many other buildings are of local importance and much of the townscape contributes positively to the conservation area.

“This should be recognised and proposals developed in response to the character, appearance and significance of the built environment and its individual elements.

“The heritage context should inform development and new development should take design cues from the existing quality-built form in the town centre.

“A consistent urban design approach within Stalybridge should seek to enhance the existing character of the town and support the unique identity of the place.”

Delivery of Stalybridge’s regeneration will be co-ordinated by the Stalybridge Strategic Project Board comprising all the town’s councillors and chaired by Tameside Council’s executive member for inclusive growth, business and employment – currently Cllr Jack Naylor.

That will be advised and supported by the Stalybridge Delivery Group, which involves ‘local stakeholders.’

6 Replies to “Stalybridge’s future detailed in new Framework”

  1. Sounds very good, but I’m 75, and if the past 3 years is anything to go by, with the so-called heritage trail & market hall upgrade, then I guess I’ll be past my time on this Earth if any of this ever comes to pass – it will be like the Hollingworth bypass saga.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, as another 75 year old. Document after document and very little to show for it. The “Heritage Walk “ can only be described as a fiasco. No movement at all on the Riverside Terrace which was destroyed due to the crass and insensitive actions of TMBC. If there are to be any tangible improvements they won’t be in our lifetime.

  2. Stalybridge has the potential to be a wonderful town again. It has the river and the canal as well as many wonderful buildings that could be renovated.
    No need to build on Godley Green.
    Like the previous comment though, i dont have the confidence in TMBC at all to deliver anything within the next decade thus allowing the town to fall into even more disrepair .
    It’s like Hyde, so many beautiful buildings that have been allowed to deteriorate to the point of demolition.
    Tameside should hang their heads in shame.

  3. Stalybridge could easily be another Uppermill
    Keep it simple, craft shops , tea rooms family space
    With the river, canal and beautiful buildings that are already there, with carefully designed and regeneration I think it could really work.
    But sadly past experience make me afraid that Tameside seem to favour take always and pubs … which okay in the right number do have potential to ruin the area.
    Tameside you have a great opportunity to do something great …. Please do it well

  4. Personally I’m 75 as well and think the roads and pot holes should be a priority first but as always that will be a no no .

  5. When we moved here 41 years ago we saw it as a town with fabulous potential, which has still not been realised. Opening the canal was a great step forward as was the building of the various apartment buildings in Castle Street & Armentiere Square & the town is definitely on the up.
    These plans appear to be very positive, especially on the vacant space by Caroline Street.
    The rationale for encouraging young aspirational people – especially young families – to live & spend in the town is spot on. However, let’s hope the fiasco that has been the improvement in Market Street is avoided. The delays, slow progress, poor forward planning & lack of compensation for the financial hit suffered by businesses could & should have been avoided.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *