TRADERS in Stalybridge are furious following the sale of a town centre car park.
Shoppers are not too happy after Tameside Council has confirmed the sale of the Leech Street/Back Melbourne Street car park to supermarket Aldi to extend its capacity.
Ray Harrison, Stalybridge Town Team chair, described it as “really sad” after Aldi this week fenced off the parking spot and began digging it up.
He said: “It was disappointing to learn of the sale of this car park as it is in a prime spot for shoppers.
“It is not good for the town as in essence another asset has gone and makes it tougher as we try to build the town.
“We are not a political organisation and are aware what the local authority has to do, and sometimes there is a fine line about getting things right.”
Mr Harrison added shoppers are fortunate they can park free for three hours at nearby Tesco.
“I am not sure what the arrangements will be for Aldi as they haven’t mentioned anything yet,” he continued.
“It would be great if it was something similar to Tesco, but I have heard a report that people parking will have to buy something from the supermarket.”
Mr Harrison, who hasn’t seen plans for the extended car park, added he has requested the local authority leave a walkway from Aldi on to Melbourne Street so that it is does not become “shut off” from the shopping centre.
Looking ahead Mr Harrison is working on his own Town Team initiative to brighten up Stalybridge.
He said: “My idea as chair is to make Stalybridge a pretty town.
“In 2018 I will be contacting the landlords to paint and render their shop fronts to make it look better.
“We have been given spring bulbs so let’s get planting and attract people into the town centre.”
Mr Harrison believes the town is moving in a positive direction with the new development in Armentieres Square and another behind Melbourne Street to provide a total of more than 100 town-centre apartments.
He said: “That is potentially a couple of hundred people shopping in Stalybridge every day, a massive bonus.
“The New Charter development hasn’t been welcomed by everybody, but the site was an eyesore before so this is 10 times better.”
A spokesman for Tameside Council said: “The cark park has been sold to Aldi and will become an extension of their car park.”