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Vision to transform Stalybridge set to be given green light tomorrow

The face of Stalybridge is set to be transformed over the next few years.

Town hall bosses have devised a new £6.1m vision that would see the public realm of the Tameside town transformed for the better. The centre has become tired in appearance, lacking natural green spaces, and is dominated by roads and vehicles, the strategy states.

The rejuvenation of Stalybridge would embrace the town’s history of being built within woodlands by creating a new ‘green loop’ that would connect all four parks in the area.

These walking and cycling routes would capitalise on the area’s canal network by running alongside waterways where possible with better signage and lighting to create a more pleasant experience for locals and visitors. 

The biggest change to be brought through this vision would be the road network, with a main road circling the town and a smaller town centre circulation route to minimise the dominance of vehicles planned.

The initial phase would see pedestrians prioritised by reducing the size of the Market Street / Waterloo Road Junction; providing a wider and consistent footpath along Market Street. 

New pedestrian crossing points would be included alongside a one-way movement along the remainder of Market Street. There is also potential for the bus gate to be diverted from in front of the Civic Hall, to Dean Street and Corporation Street, requiring Armentieres Square to become a one way system for buses.

The latter part of the strategy, hoped to be delivered by March 2026, would see further improvements of the ‘town centre core’ in the main public areas of Armentieres Square and Grosvenor Square.

These sections would see better utilisation of the canal with events spaces; street furniture; enhanced street trees and structured planting all planned. The strategy also outlines the idea to de-clutter the existing spaces to create ‘a more vibrant space for people to spend time in’ which ‘celebrates the spirit of Stalybridge’.

This strategy would work alongside the Stalybridge masterplan which is focused on the opportunities unlocked by the awarding of £19.9m in Levelling Up funding. This would see Repairs to the Civic Hall roof and the restoration of the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery and Library. 

The masterplan also includes proposals for a new bridge over the River Tame near Caroline Street for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as a multi-storey car park off Waterloo Street.

The estimated cost of the public realm strategy is £4.7m; within the overall budget of £6.1m from the Capital Regeneration Funding available for public realm works and allowing 23 per cent for additional fees and contingency.

Council papers read: “Stalybridge is rich with assets that can be utilised and celebrated to improve the urban environment of the town centre. If addressed, these opportunities can be adopted to create a unique and vibrant town centre for residents and visitors. 

“These features can unlock opportunities within the public realm to create more space for public realm, allowing local businesses to grow, frame regeneration and improve the health and wellbeing of the people within the town.”

The Stalybridge public realm strategy is set to be approved by the executive cabinet on June 19.

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