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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

High Hopes for Stalybridge

Friday, 21 February 2020

After a year of preparation and consultation, I’m delighted to announce that the Stalybridge Town Centre Challenge is coming to fruition. Launched by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, the Town Centre Challenge is an ambitious scheme to regenerate towns across the city region by helping them raise their profile and attract investment.

As part of this, we’ve recently learnt that we have been successful in applying for up to £1.27 million of funding from Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone initiative, a national scheme to champion and revive historically significant high streets across the country. At the meeting of Executive Cabinet on 12th February, the Council has formally agreed to match any funding that we receive from this. This means that a combined total of up to £2.54 million of investment could soon be made available for Stalybridge, giving us the means to turn many of our plans into practical action. 

The money has been earmarked for a range of projects which together have the potential to transform Stalybridge town centre into a modern and vibrant place to live, visit, shop and work. Some, such as our plan to offer grants for business owners to renovate and decorate their shops fronts, will have an immediate impact on the attractiveness and cleanliness of the area. Other schemes are more long-term, including consulting with Transport for Greater Manchester to level up the railway station and other transport links into and within the town. Neither are our ambitions limited to buildings.

As more shopping and retail takes place online, what a town like Stalybridge can offer in terms of culture and community becomes even more important in attracting residents and customers. That’s why we intend to significantly expand our culture offer through more town centre events such as the Lantern Parade and Cycling Festival, creating a heritage route from the railway station to Armentieres Square, and looking at what can be done to bring the Civic Hall back into productive use. Further details about these plans, along with a comprehensive vision and strategy for how we will fulfil them, were agreed at the Executive Cabinet meeting this month. You can read the report and plan on our website. 

None of this would have been possible without the supports, ideas and involvement of local residents. From October last year, we’ve been inviting people, both in person and online, to let us know their views and hopes for Stalybridge. From this we’ve identified a number of key themes that have been incorporated into our objectives and actions.

These include making the most of all the selling points of the town. Stalybridge has a truly exceptional history and heritage. Although it’s known mostly as an industrial town, there is clear evidence to suggest human settlement in the area since prehistoric times. Its geography, almost equidistant from the bright lights of Manchester city centre and the foothills of the Pennines, means it a convenient location for people who want both the urban and the rural within easy reach. The natural environment within the town; the canal, rivers and parks, also offer plenty of opportunities to make living in and coming to Stalybridge a unique experience. By bearing these in mind and working closely with residents and partners, we’ve been able to take a bespoke and “bottom up” approach to all the work we’ve done and will continue to do.

My thanks go out to everybody who has contributed to the Challenge so far. After all the talk, we’re now on the verge of being able to physically see things that will happen and benefit Stalybridge. I can’t wait to get started.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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