Sunday, January 20, 2019

Stalybridge is set to benefit from an initiative to regenerate town centres by Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

When the Town Centre Challenge was launched in December, all ten councils in Greater Manchester were asked to nominate a town to be part of the initiative, which will try to reverse a lack of investment in town centres by focusing more on housing than retail, such as the Summers Quay development in Armentieres Square.

Speaking at a public Q&A event in Droylsden last month, Mayor Andy Burnham explained: “This policy is trying to reverse a lack of investment in these town centres by coming at things in a certain different way, which is not trying to cling on to retail space which, with the best will in the world, has gone as shopping habits have moved online.

“The town centre challenge is based on the idea of delivering housing growth through our town’s because that can help shift the burden away from green spaces and it’s closer to the public transport system, therefore not putting more cars on the road. If you build more flats and apartments in our towns, you also then maybe bring a younger population in, then perhaps you’ll get new bars, restaurants and coffee shops in the town centres.

“It’s a new idea but I’m hopeful it can deliver real benefits. We’re going to start with one town per borough but if it works, I’m quite prepared to start working through some of the other towns in Tameside to see if we can give them the same benefits.”

Stalybridge was chosen by Tameside and put forward at a GMCA meeting on Friday. Tameside Council Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington, confirmed the news at a council cabinet meeting earlier this week.

“Tameside needs to have thriving town centres and I believe we are demonstrating our commitment to their success by putting Stalybridge forward for the Town Centre Challenge,” she said.

“We’ve already provided free town-centre wi-fi for shoppers and superfast broadband for business. With the metropolitan mayor’s support we’ll be lobbying for further funding and looking for imaginative solutions that we can pilot in Stalybridge and then use in other parts of the borough.”

An artist’s impression of the Summers Quay development, currently under construction in Stalybridge.

Andy Burnham is now set to visit Stalybridge with local MP Jonathan Reynolds and the town’s councillors, where the public will get a chance to quiz him on the proposal, although a date has yet to be set.

A delighted Jonathan Reynolds, Stalybridge and Hyde MP said: “I am extremely pleased that Tameside Council have endorsed my recommendation that Stalybridge become the borough’s candidate for Andy Burnham’s town centre regeneration challenge. In Autumn I invited Andy to Stalybridge himself to see both the town’s challenges and its potential, and I could see he was motivated to use his mayoral powers to leverage change in the town.”

“Stalybridge has some fantastic assets which make it ripe for investment – great road and rail links, the canal, the River Tame, stunning views, some hugely successful new projects and businesses. But there is no doubt we have also found it difficult to deal with the large-scale shift to online and out-of-town retail shopping. It has so much more potential for urban living housing, which would ease the pressure of the greenbelt, independent and high street shopping, and a strong cultural offering.

He continued: “The land behind the station, known as Stalybridge West, will be crucial to this, and I hope that together we can develop a truly visionary ambition for the town, which respects our local traditions and culture whilst confidently building a new economy that moves with the times. Stalybridge is the ideal candidate for the Mayor’s challenge and I’m excited by everything this opportunity may bring.”

The news is a welcome boost to the town, which lost one of its bigger high-street brands in Lloyds Pharmacy earlier this month, after the chemist closed it’s doors for good. Just yards away, Yorkshire Building Society have also announced that they will be closing on March 15th.

Speaking about those closures last week, Jonathan Reynolds said: “I think high street brands will really regret not investing in Stalybridge. It is a town on the up, as demonstrated for our bid for investment from Andy Burnham’s town centre challenge, and I’m confident our town benefit from exciting regeneration in the next decade, bringing new shops, services and footfall with it.”

The idea of improving town centres by investing in housing is one that is supported by both sides of the political spectrum. Stalybridge South Conservative councillor Clive Patrick says it’s becoming a nationwide trend.

“Towns all over the country are moving in that direction and it’s worked in big cities such as Manchester,” he said. “Stalybridge has been sinking under the weight of under-occupancy. There have been many plans over the years that have lack the money and impetus but this is a fantastic opportunity. More housing and residents will hopefully bring in more business.”




Jonathan Reynolds, Member of Parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde, welcomes the announcement that the Government have given not just the green light but also £10 million in support of a new garden village in Hyde.

Yesterday lunchtime,(1st February 2018) Chancellor Phillip Hammond and Secretary Of State for Communties and Local Government, Sajid Javid, announced their support for the Godley Garden Green scheme as they confirmed the first round of allocations from the new Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Jonathan said: “This is an important and welcome step in helping us to find a proactive solution to the local housing crisis. Tameside has seen piecemeal development for too long in which developers not communities choose where new houses should go, with no wider plan and no serious thought or resource towards infrastructure. Godley Garden Green is our opportunity to put this right and design a dream village from scratch. The whole concept of a ‘garden village’ is high quality, well designed homes which come with road and rail improvements as well as extra school places and health provision.

“I want to see a village which is beautifully laid out with green space, community space, walk and cycle ways, a new school and its own shops. I want to see a village which reflects the whole history and traditions of Hyde – the streets should be named after our former cotton mills,

local heroes and mayors of Hyde. The village must be a mixed development, with homes to suit everyone, including affordable homes. This must be the ideal home for families of all sizes, downsizers and first time buyers alike.

“I know there were a lot of local concerns when this concept was first launched, and I’m sure a few of those voices may remain. As we’ve seen with other local projects, like Metrolink, Crown Point and IKEA, there is often opposition to change, until we see for ourselves the benefits it brings. However, I believe several legitimate concerns about Godley Garden Green have now been addressed, for example that existing homes and businesses on the site can be built around and included in the village; nothing needs to be knocked down against its owners’ will. It’s important to remember at this stage this is a vision not planning permission, at which stage all local residents will have their chance to voice their views on the final plans.

“I dearly wish our late Council Leader Kieran Quinn, who passed away at Christmas, were here to hear this announcement. He and I had imagined this village from nothing, and my first phone call today on hearing the announcement, would have been to him.

Kieran never shied away from frank and courageous decisions, or from proactively taking responsibility for coming up with solutions to the local challenges we face. I would like to congratulate Tameside MBC on the success of their thorough and thoughtful bid. I think a Quinn Close would be a more than fitting tribute to his role in the birth of this ambitious vision to provide lovely, quality homes in an attractive setting for residents of Hyde for years to come.”



Greater Manchester is working up plans to extend its ground-breaking Housing First programme to more than 450 places as it intensifies efforts to tackle homelessness.

New funding of at least £7 million covering the next three years has been secured to help people across Greater Manchester, bringing the total investment in the city-region to approximately £9 million.

In a separate development, a new business network is being launched which will make it easier for Greater Manchester businesses to contribute to the growing city-wide campaign to end rough-sleeping.

This next phase of help for homeless people across the city-region follows:

  • £1.8m Social Impact Bond granted to help entrenched rough sleepers, with 50 currently in the process and another 200 referred for help
  • More than £135,000 raised for the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, which has helped fund a wide variety of projects which help homeless people, such as the opening of a new shelter in Cheetham Hill
  • More than 500 people registered with their GPs to access vital medical support
  • A new cold weather plan which sees emergency support given as soon as temperatures hit freezing in a national first
  • 1,000 emergency beds available and used as part of the cold weather plan


Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We have made a start to helping those who need it most, but these new places will enable us to deal with the scale of this growing problem.”

Figures released today show an increase in the number of people living on our streets nationally has risen by 15%. In Greater Manchester, the number of people living homeless has increased 42%.

Andy continued: “These new figures show that Manchester, like all cities, is facing a growing challenge. But while the figures are getting worse, our response is getting better.

“Greater Manchester is pulling together and the fact that our businesses are joining the fight will help us go up a gear. Nowhere else are public, private, voluntary and faith organisations pulling together in this way to tackle one such an important issue.”

The new chair of the Business Network is Tim Heatley, co-owner of Manchester-based property developers Capital&Centric.

Tim said: “Manchester is a global city with community spirit, we’ve proved that we come together when needed the most. Yet, despite efforts, so many of Manchester’s vulnerable people are still sleeping on our city’s streets. While it weighs heavy on our collective conscience that we’ve got to this point, it’s brilliant to see so many organisations – led by the Mayor – pulling together to help.

“The public sector and charities are leading the charge, but Manchester’s private sector will play a pivotal role too. Our business leaders have had the creativity, determination and ingenuity to put Manchester’s industries on the world stage. Hopefully they can apply these talents to, together, transforming the lives of our people without homes. It’s a big ask, but one I’m sure we’re capable of.”

Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for housing, planning and homelessness, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “£7million in new funding from government is a welcome contribution, but we need to keep a sense of perspective on the government’s contribution to Greater Manchester’s homelessness problem.

“The £7million is a welcome lifeline – but not one that we should have needed in one of the richest nations in the world.”

Andy, along with Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Bev Hughes, visited Centrepoint Manchester yesterday (January 25) to see the work being done to help people who are homeless, especially young people.

Bev said: “Too many people are released from prison homeless. We know that having a home to go to helps to reduce offending behaviour and that is why we are committed to working together with our criminal justice partners to make sure that offenders are offered the right support at the right time.”

Balbir Chatrik, Director of Policy and Communications at Centrepoint, added: “These figures are shocking, but they only attempt to count the number of people sleeping rough on one night. We know there are thousands more young people who are hidden homeless – sofa-surfing for months on end, sleeping on public transport, or staying with strangers just to find a bed for the night.

“If the government is serious about breaking the cycle of homelessness it must start by measuring the problem properly and then providing adequate funding to solve it.”

To make a donation or find out more about the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, visit:


We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our contributors, advertisers and every one of our readers a very merry Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year! 

Thank you all for another wonderful year and for maintaining your loyalty to Local Community Matters; making us Tameside’s most popular free to access, daily up-dated, community news site.

We have always believed it’s the good news and success stories that emanate from within our great communities that makes us so special and sets us aside from the rest, so we really wanted to wish everyone out there all the joy, peace, great memories and a successful New Year.

To date we’ve been read by over 500,000 total visitors, so it’s been quite a busy year for us, consequently we’ll be taking things a little bit easier over the next few days, but don’t worry, we’re already planning for 2018 which is on-target to being our biggest year since we took our local community news project online.

We’d also like to say a special festive thank you to everyone who supports the site. Our team of regular reporters, people who send us their community stories, users who spread the word and of course everyone who uses the site.

In the coming year we look forward to reaching and publishing many more ‘successful milestones’ with you.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

From all at Local Community Matters

David McCallion is a Threshold Community Connector at Positive Steps in Oldham and the first person to be awarded Gold by the Communicate project for his outstanding results in implementing the Communicate Programme (formerly Rapid English) to help adults with their literacy, language and communication skills.

Having been trained to deliver the programme in November 2016, he has since delivered over 75 hours of the programme to a number of Threshold’s clients, with extremely positive results. The programme is designed as a customer lead journey, it starts where a customer needs to begin and covers what the customer wants to learn and achieve. It is one-to-one tutoring for one hour a week over approximately 10 weeks.

One such example was the case of Paul who had suffered a nervous breakdown and depression having lost his job of 20 years when new company owners found out that he had low literacy skills. He was referred to Positive Steps Early Help service by the reverend at the Congressional Church at Greenacres, where David had promoted the course and where Paul was a parishioner.

Paul’s ambition was to be able to read a passage from the bible at Church, so David worked closely with him using various tools and techniques to slowly improve Paul’s language, literacy and communication skills, until after 10 weeks he was able to stand up in front of the congregation and read a passage from Acts – Day of Pentecost.   He then went on to read two further pieces, firstly a poem called ‘when you can read’ by Bobby Katz and then a further piece which he had written with David to share his own journey.

David said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this award on behalf of Threshold and have enjoyed delivering the Communicate programme. It is not like school, it is about understanding communication in all its forms and learning what will help your life improve. By taking the time to listen to the student, and removing all fear, embarrassment and nerves, the experience is great for bother student and practitioner.”

David Hore, Managing Director at Communicate said: “David’s case studies offer a powerful narrative of the impact he is having on the community and it is vindication of the time and energy that Threshold and Positive Steps have put into the Communicate Project.”




New research from British Gas has highlighted that having no heating or hot water would be the number one disaster for households this winter. Even so, many people in Tameside have not taken action to ensure their homes are winter-ready.

Despite the autumn chill, a national survey shows that more than a third of households (36%) have not checked that their central heating is working and four in ten have not prepared their home for winter by getting their boiler serviced. Having an annual boiler service carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer is crucial as it detects problems with the boiler and controls, including whether it is leaking poisonous carbon monoxide.

Keeping homes safe is an important part of winter preparation, yet only a third of people (33%) have checked that their carbon monoxide alarm is working. Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’, because the gas has no odour or taste, and is invisible. Fitting an audible alarm is the second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.

British Gas – Stay warm this Winter 2017

Being energy efficient is particularly important during the winter months, and technology can help with this. Whilst nearly half of households (47%) acknowledge that technology could help their home to run more smoothly during winter, just over a third (36%) have smart meters.

Having smart meters installed can help keep household energy in check, as they automatically send readings to the energy supplier.  Smart meters also come with a display that shows you how much energy is being used, in pounds and pence, in near real-time, and identify where savings can be made.

Jonathan said, “It’s really important to keep a step ahead of winter. I want everyone in Stalybridge and Hyde to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is really important, so I’d encourage people to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer. I’ve taken several of the measures myself, including installing a smart meter, and have felt the benefits in our home and on our bills.”

Greater Manchester has set out plans to develop a world class approach to fire safety, as work continues to reassure thousands of local residents following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

A feasibility study into the retrofitting of sprinklers in residential high rises, a consistent Greater Manchester approach to fire safety, and a call for the fire and rescue service to be consulted at all stages of a building’s life cycle, are part of the proposals put forward by Greater Manchester’s High Rise Task Force to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The Task Force was set up by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham following the Grenfell Tower tragedy to provide fire safety reassurance to thousands of local residents living in high rises across the city-region.

The proposals come as Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) completes the inspection of more than 500 residential high rises in Greater Manchester, to ensure they comply with fire safety regulations. Fire officers have been working with housing providers, local authorities and the private sector to ensure all buildings receive the right fire safety advice and residents feel safe in their homes.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, who is leading the Greater Manchester High Rise Task Force, said: “Since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, Greater Manchester has taken swift action to reassure all our residents their homes are safe as quickly as possible. This is thanks to the commitment of the fire and rescue service and support from housing providers and local authorities who all share a common goal in prioritising the safety and care of local people.

“As we continue to ensure the safety of our residents, we are also working to make sure our voice is heard nationally and that steps are made so that a tragedy like Grenfell never happens again. In Greater Manchester, that means developing a world-class approach to fire safety which places the expertise of our fire and rescue service at its heart.”

Councillor David Acton, Chair of the Fire Committee said: “The Grenfell Tower tragedy marks a defining moment in relation to fire safety in high rise buildings across the country, and it is clear that there have been conflicts and confusion around fire safety legislation and building regulations. That is why we are proposing a Greater Manchester standard of fire safety, putting the safety of buildings and those living and working in them at the centre.

“In particular, we believe that the case to fit sprinkler systems in high rise flats, as part of a package of fire safety measures, has been overwhelmingly made. There is clear evidence that sprinklers can be effective in stopping fires spreading and putting them out, ultimately saving lives. As part of the work of the Task Force we will be exploring the retrofitting of sprinklers in existing blocks by undertaking a feasibility study.”

Evidence from the National Fire Chief’s Council shows that sprinklers are the most effective way to ensure that fires are suppressed or even extinguished before the fire service can arrive, with research also showing that in both converted and purpose built flats sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires.

Paul Dennett added: “Greater Manchester has not shied away from addressing the fire safety challenges highlighted following the Grenfell Tower tragedy but we also need Government to step up and provide the funding and resources we need to swiftly and effectively carry out this work, particularly around the replacement of cladding systems and retrofitting of sprinkler systems. Public bodies and emergency services are already struggling as a result of budget cuts and austerity; Government needs to act now to remove any barriers to keeping people safe.”

The Task Force includes landlords of tower blocks across the city region in both private and public ownership, as well as representatives from every local authority in Greater Manchester and other specialist officers who can offer support to ensure every high rise is safe.

Residents are also being offered a Safe and Well visit from GMFRS to talk about health and wellbeing, crime prevention as well as fire safety advice.

The work of the Task Force will inform a Greater Manchester response to the national public inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower.  This will look at a wide range of issues, including consideration of sprinkler systems and the level of resource that the Fire and Rescue Service has following the cuts of recent years.

Greater Manchester will also be submitting evidence to the Government’s independent review of building regulations and fire safety, which will highlight concerns and conflicts in existing legislation.


To arrange a free Safe and Well visit for you and your family, simply call 0800 555 815 to book a visit or fill in the online form at   

Law firm Bromleys has recruited property solicitor Martin Blaylock to help meet increasing demand from clients.

He has joined the Tameside practice from Bell Park Kerridge Solicitors, which has offices in Carlisle and Cockermouth in Cumbria.

Martin joins Bromleys’ corporate and commercial services team. He specialises in advising clients on commercial property, conveyancing and landlord and tenant matters.

He is the latest addition to the growing team, following the arrival in the spring of solicitor Rubina Begum.

Martin studied law at the University of Central Lancashire and completed the legal practice course at Northumbria University before qualifying as a solicitor in 2013.

Paul Westwell, the Bromleys’ partner who heads the corporate and commercial team, said: “We have seen a significant increase in new instructions and further recruitment has been necessary to service the needs of our clients.

“Martin has relocated from Carlisle to join us and will be a valued addition to the team. He has a varied background and will fit in well with our client-focused culture.”

Martin said: “Bromleys has an excellent reputation with clients and the local business community, and I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the firm.”

In addition to the property department, Bromleys has in recent months bolstered its Private Client, Care Proceedings and Court of Protection teams.

Get in touch with Martin Blaylock by emailing or alternatively you can call 0161 330 6821

Housing association New Charter Homes has secured two five-year contracts to help reduce homelessness in Tameside.

The social landlord, which owns around 16,500 homes across Greater Manchester, has been successful in retaining its contracts with Tameside Council to deliver its statutory homelessness duties and supported temporary accommodation.

Through Tameside Housing Advice, New Charter will continue to support customers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

This involves triage and casework, and in the past 12 months the service has prevented 900 people from becoming homeless.

The supported temporary accommodation contract will provide people with short-term housing followed by help to settle back into the community.

The service will work with Tameside Housing Advice and New Charter’s existing domestic abuse and family support projects and will include training and employment opportunities, tenancy support and health awareness.

New Charter is currently working with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and the wider Greater Manchester Housing Providers group on a homelessness strategy for the region.

Kerrie Pryde, New Charter’s Assistant Director of Commercial and Partnership Services said: “Helping to reduce homelessness has always been a top priority for us and we’ve been delivering results on behalf of Tameside Council for more than 16 years now.

“We’re proud that our achievements are continuing to be recognised through the renewal of these important contracts and we’re looking forward to discussing a Greater Manchester-wide strategy with our housing colleagues and the new Mayor.”

Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s executive director with responsibility for housing and homelessness, added: “I am delighted that New Charter is to continue to work with us over the next five years to continue to reduce homelessness.

“Tameside Council and New Charter have built up a very productive partnership and I’m sure we’ll be able to improve on it. It is a partnership that plays a key role in tackling homelessness and I am sure it will go on to do even better work.” Twitter: @NewCharterGroup

 As we announced yesterday, Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, celebrated the completion of 55 new affordable family homes with tenants and local school children in Tameside yesterday by planting an Apple Tree.

The tree marked the completion of New Charter Homes’ £5.9m Coleridge Close development in Ashton which will provide a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes for affordable rent and is part of the housing association’s drive to help solve the housing crisis.

Surrounded by residents and pupils from Canon Johnson C of E Primary School, Andy Burnham said, “We are working hard along with housing providers to make sure that truly affordable housing is available to all and these new homes will help to provide this in Ashton.

“Greater Manchester needs housing that is affordable and I would welcome more of these developments.”