Work has started to transform Ashton’s historic Market Square into a modern vibrant space in the heart of the town for people to shop, visit, socialise and do business. The exciting plans will see the introduction of new stalls and kiosks, high quality landscaping and trees, a performance and seating areas as well as new street furniture and lighting.
A phased approach will be taken to complete the works to ensure the market remains open throughout and disruption is kept to a minimum. However, as with any major construction project there will be some disruption and residents are urged to continue to support their local market and businesses and shop locally whilst the improvements are carried out. Ashton has one of the busiest town centres in Greater Manchester and its market – established in 1413 – was voted Britain’s Favourite Market in 2014, however the Market Square was beginning to look tired and dated. Investment in the much loved Ashton Outdoor Market is crucial to ensure it keeps up with modern shopping habits and continues to compete with neighbouring towns as well as online retailers. The plans for Ashton market square have been designed to complement the town’s heritage assets in addition to the multi-million pound “Vision Tameside” redevelopment plans.
This once in a lifetime opportunity for Tameside will not only transform the appearance of the town centre but will also see a new Tameside College campus in the town at the end of 2015. This dramatic change to the number of people working and studying in the heart of the town will provide a major boost to the market, local shops and economy and will help to attract new investment and businesses to Ashton and the wider Tameside area. The redevelopment plans aren’t just about the way the market looks as the Council’s Markets team is also developing a range of initiatives to help attract new market traders to ensure there is a greater choice of quality goods on offer which will appeal to more shoppers.
Cllr Bill Fairfoull, Chair of Ashton Town Team, said
“Both the indoor and outdoor markets offer great choice and value for money but we need to improve the area for the next generation whilst retaining its charm and appeal. Please keep supporting the market and local businesses while the improvements works are carried out.”
Market Trader, Monica, who sells quality handbags and luggage, said
“It’s great news that the Council is investing in Ashton Outdoor Market. As a long standing market trader I think the town centre needs reinvigorating to bring shoppers back”.
The Council’s Environmental Services team, are carrying out the works and have vast experience in working on similar large scale projects. They have received numerous awards, from the National Considerate Constructors Scheme, for the way in which they deliver projects in a professional and respectful way paying particular attention to the environment, their neighbours and members of the community.
Shoppers are reminded that parking charges in Tameside town centres have now been reduced to just £1 for three hours and £2 for all day parking – among the cheapest local authority parking in Greater Manchester. There is also the new Tameside Loyalty Card scheme to give people even more incentive to shop local (www.tamesideloyaltycard.co.uk).
For further details see www.tameside.gov.uk/ashton/marketsquare