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£4.5 million Ashton town centre plans
Wednesday 16th January 2013 @ 12:24 by Mark Phillip

Ashton Civic square is to undergo a £4.5m redesign by the same architects who worked on the award-winning refurbishment of the market hall.
International Urban Design and Architectural Consultants Taylor Young have been commissioned to draw up a state-of-the-art makeover of Ashton Civic Square. The commission follows their previous acclaimed work with Tameside Council to renovate the historic market hall after it was devastated by a fire in 2004.
The new look civic square will help make the town centre a more appealing place to stay and shop, enhancing the market and attracting more visitors. The work will form a wider package of improvements for Ashton, which includes the development of an urban village, a new administrative centre and a potential decision for Tameside College to move into the town centre.
The Council is also working with the landlord of the current Marks and Spencer unit in Warrington Street to find a new user for the space. In the meantime, preparations to open the new, larger M&S on Ashton Moss on 23 January are well underway. The store, which will bring more than 60 new jobs to the borough, will have a fresh, contemporary feel and will offer a wider range of products – including homeware and a café – for shoppers.
Business is also looking good for Ashton Market which reported an increase in visitors and income during December in comparison to the same month in 2011. The market continues to move with current shopping trends, having recently installed free wi-fi and an open eating area for visitors. It has also been named Britain’s Greenest Market for its efforts to be eco-friendly and sustainable.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Kieran Quinn said: “We want Ashton to provide a modern offer to attract visitors and meet new business and shopping trends while also retaining its character, sense of community and historic charm. I believe we have a strong vision to take the town centre forward and I’m delighted that, as part of this plan, we are working with the same award-winning architects who delivered the magnificent refurbishment of the market hall to design the new-look civic square.”
Tameside Council Executive Member for Planning and Transport Cllr Peter Robinson said: “The redevelopment of the civic square will provide a vital boost for retail in the town centre. We are looking for a high quality scheme that will enhance the historic buildings and provide a flexible space to maximise the potential to attract visitors and shoppers and provide the opportunity for community and civic events. Ashton needs to compete to remain an attractive place to visit and this gives us the potential to get ahead of that competition.”