Our once-bustling area has gone so downhill it's now a ghost town with ruined buildings… it's almost completely deserted | The Sun

LOCALS say their once-bustling area has gone so downhill it's now a ghost town with ruined buildings.

Rusty Christmas lights and metal shutters have taken over Droylsden, Greater Manchester.

Shops which once had a flow of customers are now in a sorry state of neglect and disrepair.

Residents have blamed the deserted shopping centre on a poor choice of shops and high rents driving out local traders.

They also claim nearby Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester has a better shopping experience meaning more people go there.

Friends Stephanie Wright, 29, and Sarah Thomson, 39, say the town centre needs a “big lift”.


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Stephanie said: “It’s gone down hill for sure.

“There are lots of discount stores and a lot of places are empty because the rents are too high.

“If you want to do decent shopping you have to go to Ashton or Manchester.

“I only come here if I need to do a top-up shop or get a few essentials.”

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Sarah added: “A lot of the smaller or family businesses have been driven away because of the high rents.

“I can only think of one shop that’s still locally owed.”

The shopping centre is occupied by discount chain stores such as Poundland, Wilko, Quality Save and B&M.

Carole Beckingham, 81, and her partner Alan Schofield, 89, live in the area and say there is a lack of variety.

Carol said: "A lot of the shops are very similar.

“I only shop here because it’s local but it’s nowhere as busy as it used to be.

“There used to be a market twice a week but that’s gone.

“They’ve promised improvements, but I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Alan said: “If we need to go the bank we have to go to Ashton. 

“We used to have three here at one time but they’ve all gone.

“If you want something to eat Ashton is better too.”


New-Era Properties, who took over ownership of the shopping centre in 2019, is working with Tameside Council to bring improvements.

Patrick Franks, head of property for the company, said Droylsden has “got it all” and residents would see a revitalised shopping centre by the end of this year.

He said the best thing locals can do is support small businesses.

He added: "We can’t go down the route of grandiose plan to knock everything down, that’s not a good plan.

“We need a sensible plan that can be sustained.

“The best thing residents can do is support local businesses.

“The better local businesses do the more new businesses will be attracted in.

“There are many people who complain but they don’t use the town centre and just shop online.

“Other locals have been very supportive and one of the things about Droylsden is its strong sense of community.

“The town centre may not look its best at the moment, but it’s got everything you need within a 15 minute walking distance. 

“Droylsden has got it all and we are working with the council bring that forward.

“It’s not that far off, we just need the support of local residents and support for the traders.”

He added that shoppers would see “significant improvement” by the end of 2023.

Tameside Council executive Leader, Cllr Gerald Cooney, said he shares the frustration with locals over the lack of small businesses.

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He said: "We as councillors who live in Droylsden and use the shops are as frustrated as everyone else regarding the time it takes – but we must also reflect on the fact we have had a hiatus as we have faced the pandemic and this has also challenged the viability of small businesses.

"Together with people shopping locally the precinct has a big future."

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