Proposals for the first phase in the redevelopment of Ashton's Market Square and Outdoor Market were approved at Tameside Council Executive Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 26th October 2022.
The draft proposals will now go out for public consultation at the start of November and will utilise £10.8m of the £19.87m Levelling Up Fund awarded by Government in October 2019 forming part of the wider Ashton Public Realm Strategy.
Draft plans have been drawn up by a multidisciplinary team led by Planit IE who were procured in January 2022. The team have used feedback to shape the plans from the pre-consultation exercise carried out with Council Officer, key stakeholders, the Ashton Town Team, Ashton market traders, visitors and the local community at the Love Ashton event held in Ashton Market Hall on 12 March 2022.
Feedback received in March highlighted a view that an improved market offer was felt to be a priority to many residents and visitors. There was a common thread that anti-social behaviour linked with the arrangement of the existing stalls made residents feel unsafe. This was felt to be causing negative perceptions of the town centre and discouraging new businesses opening up.
The exciting new proposal will provide a high quality flexible and modern market square which would lend itself to a range of different uses and be more inviting to the local community and visitors, as well as provide space to hold events. Plans include the removal of the kiosks and market stalls, replacing them with a large canopy structure that will provide adaptable market units to meet the need of modern market traders.
Councillor Vimal Choksi, Executive Member (Towns and Communities) said: "The projects being developed with Levelling Up Fund monies are crucial to unlocking the potential regeneration of the town centre. It is important we listen and respond to residents and stakeholders views and look to improve the negative perceptions of Ashton Town Centre and support town centre businesses in the work being undertaken."
The plans that have emerged will go out for public consultation for a period of 4 weeks from the beginning of November. Following consultation, if plans are approved by Executive Cabinet, early works to market Square could start as soon as spring 2023 with the main works being undertaken from early 2024 until 31 March 2025.
Further details on the launch of the consultation will follow at the start of November. To read the full report on www.tameside.gov.uk.