MAJOR improvements in housing, recreation, public transport, employment and education all feature in a masterplan for Ashton town centre approved by Tameside Council's cabinet.
Town-led work that began 10 years ago as part of the Vision Tameside project – and which led to new facilities being constructed for Tameside and Clarendon colleges – has now been extended through the creation of the Ashton Mayoral Development Zone which is supported by the Greater Manchester metro mayor.
The zone, which stretches from the town centre through St Petersfield to Ashton Moss, has been identified as a priority area for growth and will generate many hundreds of jobs.
In addition, £20 million has been secured from the Government's Levelling Up Fund to begin restoration of Ashton Town Hall, regenerate the old bus station site, and make other improvements.
St Petersfield, home to the award-winning digital hub at Ashton Old Baths, provides an opportunity for further expansion of the creative and tech sectors.
There is also the potential to redevelop the Arcades and Ladysmith shopping centres to provide more leisure facilities as well as attracting more people to live in the town centre. As many as 500 homes could be built on brownfield sites including Booth Street, Cavendish Street and the Emmanuel Court area.
All this will be allied to improved walking and cycling links using funding secured from the metro mayor's challenge fund and the Levelling Up Fund. The new Ashton Transport Interchange was completed in 2021.
Welcome Back funding is also being spent on a general greening and cleaning of the town centre. A pop-up park has been laid out to provide space for the community and increase footfall in St Petersfield.
An Ashton Advisory Group is in the process of being established to drive the town-led regeneration and support growth. The dscvr app has been launched to link residents and businesses to the town centre.
Cllr Oliver Ryan, Tameside Council's executive member for finance and economic growth, said: "These are exciting times for Ashton which will be transformed by the provision of facilities guaranteed to attract people into the town centre to shop, work and live.
"By generating a new Ashton while at the same preserving the best elements of the old, such as the early Victorian town hall, we are creating a place that's not only ideal for businesses to collaborate and grow, but also highly liveable with greenery and great transport links."