We hope our coffee shop can help run down Greater Manchester town become new Altrincham

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“We want to be part of rejuvenating the high street. There’s the potential for positive change.”

A town on the edge of Greater Manchester has seen businesses moving out and residents calling for change – but now one coffee shop is bucking the trend.

For years, Hyde residents have bemoaned the lack of shops in the area and how businesses are shutting down and moving elsewhere. If you ask regulars on the high street, the dearth of shops has resulted in a reduced footfall and increased antisocial behaviour on quieter streets, with people forced to go elsewhere to do their shopping.

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Independent coffee shop chain, ‘The Coffee House’, is hoping to inspire change in Hyde after opening its doors in Clarendon Square Shopping Centre at the start of the month.

The chain already has shops in Stockport, Bolton, Sale and Bury to name a few, with a promised USP of better service and a wide range of fresh food all made in-house. Along with the coffee beans they roast themselves, deliveries from their Warrington-based production facility are shipped out each morning to their shops across the north west. It is their hope that they will stimulate an eating and drinking culture in the Tameside town – and be the catalyst for a turnaround of the kind seen in Altrincham.

The Coffee House based in Clarendon Shopping Centre in HydeThe Coffee House based in Clarendon Shopping Centre in Hyde
The Coffee House based in Clarendon Shopping Centre in Hyde

Adam Fletcher, head of growth at Coffee House, said: “We tend to thrive in places like Hyde. We like to put shops in places where we can make a difference. We want to be part of rejuvenating the high street. More shops are going and more eateries are coming in. If we can help with turning the centre around then that would be great.”

When the Local Democracy Reporting Service visited Hyde earlier in the year, there was a negative feeling about the future of the town centre. Many told the LDRS that they did not want to travel to Ashton or Manchester for extra items – they wanted everything nearby – but felt they had no choice.

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A number of residents pointed out shops with shutters down and ‘to let’ signs up as you walk down Market Street.

Dean Hamood put it this way. “I love living here, but it’s getting more run down. Ashton seems to get all the money. They’ve done up the market but in front of shops so they can’t be seen. Only the pigeons like it. Shops are closing because of the rates because they’re so high. When the leases are up they leave. If you look around we have lots of charity shops – everyone is getting priced out. One, two, three bookies all facing each other over there.”

Dean HamoodDean Hamood
Dean Hamood

The £1.2m market, redesigned in 2012, was supposed to inject new life into the centre of Hyde – but it didn’t hit the mark for locals. Despite this sense of negativity around shops closing and less people on the street, the new coffee shop in the shopping centre has been a ‘breath of fresh air’, according to the new business.

Mr Fletcher claimed that since they opened on April 1, locals have said ‘this is just what the town needs’.

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“We have opened shops in places like Hyde before (where the town centre has been less successful) and it has worked,” he said. “These (casual) places are where people go now rather than restaurants. It is a more casual setup that people are looking for now. We hope to help rejuvenate the centre. If this can come in and have others join too, that can only be better for everyone.

“There is potential for positive change in Hyde,” Mr Fletcher added, referring to the Hyde masterplan. “Look at Altrincham, it was a burnt out town before it was revamped and now it is the place to be.”

Adam Fletcher, head of growth at The Coffee HouseAdam Fletcher, head of growth at The Coffee House
Adam Fletcher, head of growth at The Coffee House

He went on to say how town centres are changing from how they used to be, and that there is hope that change could soon come to Hyde. Tameside Council approved a new masterplan for the town back in February – something the new coffee shop hopes to become a part of.

The proposals would see a repurposed town hall, the overhaul of Clarendon Shopping Centre, creation of a more attractive public realm and a redesign of the markets. The overhaul of the shopping centre itself is potentially the most significant change proposed on the plan – with a key aim being to demolish it, making way for a new shopping development which would rehouse the indoor market.

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Meanwhile, public realm upgrades to Market Square will prioritise the use of the square for cultural events, festivals, pop-ups, and placemaking activities. The idea behind this is to link the newly refurbished shopping centre and Market Square to the town hall just across the road, supporting the masterplan’s goals of making Hyde Town Hall a ‘regionally significant cultural destination’.

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “The Hyde Masterplan has been shaped by the people that live, work, and visit the town and will help kick-start the regeneration process. It will build on Hyde’s unique character and shape the town into a place that both the existing and future community and generations can take pride in.

“We welcome and support new businesses to Hyde, while supporting existing businesses in making the most of the improvements and exciting opportunities that the redevelopment will bring, which includes attracting visitors to help increase footfall and boost the local economy. You can view the masterplan here.”

The Coffee House chain is hoping to open a total of 30 shops across the country this year. They are essentially targeting areas like Hyde – hoping to be part of regeneration projects

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Katie Hayes, Centre Manager at Clarendon Square Shopping Centre (CSSC), said: “We are delighted to welcome The Coffee House to the CSSC at Hyde. As a team we have been looking for another quality operator and felt strongly that The Coffee House was perfect for both parties at this time. They will be a great asset not only to the CSSC but also to the town and community.”

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