STALYBRIDGE residents have had their say on the town’s future – calling for shops and businesses to be supported, parking improvements and a river walkway.
The Stalybridge Town Centre Challenge Board carried out engagement work to help design a unique vision for regeneration in Stalybridge that creates the ideal place to live, shop and do business.
Stalybridge is Tameside’s nominee for the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Town Centre Challenge, which brings together housing providers, public and private landowners, developers, community groups and other key stakeholders to support Tameside Council in unlocking the town centre’s potential.
The Board set out its aims under the aspirations: a vibrant town; a visited town; a sustainable town; a prosperous town and a liveable town.
Nearly 600 people gave their views, either at a consultation event, through a questionnaire or by e-mail, with pupils at Copley, West Hill and St Peter’s schools also giving their feedback.
Key themes that emerged included Stalybridge’s natural environment of canals, rivers and parks is an asset that should be utilised to its full potential with its location, close to Manchester but within easy access to the countryside.
Its heritage and history should be embraced, with any new developments complementing this.
There was also support for improving public transport but mixed views on extending Metrolink to the area.
The main priorities identified were reinventing the market hall, supporting new and existing shops and businesses, improving parking, developing a river walkway and more varied nightlife with restaurants and bars.
Other priorities suggested included cleaning up the streets and town; redeveloping and improving existing buildings and sites such as the art gallery, police station and old town hall and making people feel safe with a police presence, lighting and crackdown on anti-social behaviour.
Responses from the schoolchildren varied from wanting more leisure and recreational facilities such as gyms, fairs, swimming baths, a trampoline park, museums, a cinema and even a zoo or theme park to brightening Stalybridge with more flowers, gardens, litter picks and statues – and even free sweets every day to make the place more vibrant!
Board chairman Cllr Adrian Pearce said: “We were delighted by the response to its recent consultation.
“We received 540 completed questionnaires and more than 350 comments posted at the market hall.
“It was clear from the vast array of comments that people want change, whether it was to prioritise the better use of our civic buildings, support for local shops and new businesses, the reuse of derelict buildings, a river walkway or better car parking.
“The Board’s goal for the town is ambitious: to retain its heritage and build upon its strengths to revitalise Stalybridge.
“The consultation demonstrated clear support for this objective.
“Already there are encouraging signs from public and private organisations wishing to get involved.
“Your ideas will be incorporated into a wide-ranging plan to regenerate the town.
“Over the next year, we will adopt this plan to support the additional investment we need.
“Our priorities will be to work with partners to look at options to reopen the market hall, attract funding for a heritage walk based on the canal and river, explore ways to enhance the leisure and evening economy, support organisations to deliver events and opportunities for local people, work with different partners to bring buildings back into use, continue work to identify opportunities for new housing.
“In the meantime, join us on Melbourne Street on Saturday, December 15 for some Christmas carols and festivities as a thank you for your help to make the consultation a success and improve the plan for Stalybridge’s future.”
To read the full consultation report click here