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Major facelift for Stalybridge as huge regeneration plans get the thumbs up

Thursday, 25 January 2024 17:03

By George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

Stalybridge could soon be transformed after town hall bosses approved massive regeneration plans. 

There are proposals to rejuvenate the high street and town square in the town, as well as to repair historic assets and improve public transport connectivity.

Tameside Council wants to increase the number of people living in and around Stalybridge town centre. 

The framework is focused on the immediate opportunities unlocked by the award of £19.9m in external funding from the UK Capital Regeneration Projects scheme, administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Repairs to the Civic Hall roof and the restoration of the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery and Library are also part of the plans. 

As the repair works to the Civic Hall are completed, subject to further approval, the council will seek to progress a programme of activities, including the potential for markets, food and drink events, music, theatre, comedy, art and cultural exhibition events. 

A new bridge over the River Tame near Caroline Street for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as a multi-level car park off Waterloo Street, are also mooted. With the addition of public realm improvements, this first phase could be complete by 2026.

The longer term vision is for 1,000 new homes to be created in the town. The framework highlights ‘a clear need’ for additional properties in Stalybridge.  

“There are a range of opportunities within Stalybridge to respond directly to the aspirations identified for the town centre that also addresses challenges facing Stalybridge,” the framework documentation reads. “The framework therefore seeks to co-ordinate delivery of the Stalybridge Regeneration Programme and assist in the implementation of a longer-term strategy which will help address housing needs whilst reinvigorating the town centre and enabling it to contribute more fully to the local economy and to broader regeneration aims.

“The overarching vision of the framework is ‘to deliver a thriving place throughout the day and evening optimising Stalybridge’s excellent connectivity, waterfront, heritage, culture and passion to provide a hub for living, culture, employment and services supporting a sustainable retail sector’.

“The period to March 2026 will see the delivery of significant regeneration with a number of physical projects delivered in Stalybridge town centre. 

“The council will continue to work with partners to attract further external funding and investment to complement this work. The successful delivery of these important capital projects as part of the Stalybridge Regeneration Programme will contribute to the achievement of the vision and primary objective to secure the successful regeneration of the town centre and the surrounding area.”

Like many towns in the north west, Stalybridge became renowned for the manufacture of cotton and textiles. This resulted in the development of a number of factories and mills around the town which built a rich identity in industry.

The decline of the textile industry following the Second World War meant many of the factories and mills were left derelict, and a number of footbridges and links across the River Tame were removed. There is hope that this new framework can help bring back some of what was lost.

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