Manchester news Lockdown's impact on Greater Manchester's wealthiest high street Manchester united news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Things haven't been easy - even here
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! On a chilly Wednesday afternoon, the wind doesn't seem to have dulled punters' enthusiasm to be seen at some of the most glamorous eateries in the region, as high performance sports cars race past. Along Ashley Road through the centre of Hale Village, restaurant and bar tables spill out onto the pavement and they're packed with young, beautiful people in designer coats and sunglasses enjoying their lunch hour. The village has been slowly coming back to life since lockdown restrictions began to ease and there's a buzz about the place, with people seeming genuinely happy to see each other as they go about their day. Ashley Road, Hale (Image: ABNM Photography) Kerry Katona was even spotted in the local estate agents this week, presumably looking for a new pad. But it hasn't been easy, even for Greater Manchester's wealthiest high street. The last 12 months has seen the village lose a number of well-loved businesses that have been on its high street for years, and the community feels it. Hale (Image: ABNM Photography) Surviving store owners are adapting, changing their offerings to broaden their horizons or choosing to pack up and move on entirely after re-evaluating their life over lockdown. From the family-run local pharmacy and post office, to the frozen food suppliers, wine shop and pub, everyone has felt and continues to feel the pandemic's bite. Matthew Bladon and his family run the pharmacy at the end of the village. He said: "It's been very different for us. We've been open throughout, but we've shifted to be doing lots of deliveries. Things haven't been easy, even for Greater Manchester's wealthiest high street (Image: ABNM Photography) "We've had lots of people getting prescriptions sent out to their homes and even now, people are still scared to come out, and still want their medication delivered. "I wonder if people have this ingrained fear now. Some have been isolating since March and are only just coming out again, it can leave them shaken. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here "The Covid test uptake has been good, and the number of cases are low, but it's still out there. Both of my daughters have seen cases at their schools. It hasn't gone. People are under the impression it's over, but it isn't." Michelle Disney and her family have run Hale's 100-year-old Post Office for decades. But she's reassessing her options. The mother of five and grandmother of two has decided it's time to move on. 'I love it here' (Image: ABNM Photography) She said: "I'm selling the business and taking a chance, I've been happy here for 22 years, I started out with my mum. But I've got children and grandchildren of my own now. "I love it here and it is a great business, but I don't want to be working six days a week anymore. "I'll take six months as a break for myself, see how I feel. I've said I'll ask to come back for work occasionally, but [lockdown] has made me re-evaluate my life." Changes at the post office aren't the only ones affecting the village either. The area's only travel agent stores, Prestbury Travel and Omega Travel, were both forced to shut their doors during lockdown. The stores had each been on Ashley Road for a number of years, but international travel restrictions ultimately proved fatal. Similarly, a former lingerie store, which sat on Hale's high street under various guises and owners for more than 60 years, has also closed down.
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. And the village's last bank, Barclays, closed on December 18 2020, along with its cash machine. The village at one point had seven or eight ATMs, now there are just two left. Hale's last remaining charity shop is set to close its doors in July too.
(Image: ABNM Photography)
One business that has survived the pandemic but had to shift its operating model is frozen food store Cook. Store manager Tanya Yates said: "Things have really changed, we've seen a massive shift to online orders and deliveries. We've got a lot of vulnerable people relying on us now. "When lockdown was first called, initially it was like locusts in here, it was so busy with people stockpiling. "We were lucky and were able to stay open but soon after Hale village was dead, it was like Christmas Day, not a single person, not a single car.
The Railway Pub
(Image: ABNM Photography)
"It's been better these last few weeks, but we still don't get many people in the store." Staff member Mark Jackson added: "At the start people were very positive about the lockdown, saying 'yes, this is what we have to do, we need to keep it up'. Now it's very different." The Railway Inn pub across the tracks has also felt the sting of the pandemic. Things were looking up when the pubs reopened again, but it hasn't lasted. Manager Annette Pickford said: "The last week we've been really quiet, it's been different, like the novelty has worn off. We've been able to get the umbrellas up and the tables in the back [garden] open, but we're just hoping we can get through to June." The same quietness has affected Portland Wines, run by manager Paula Reeves. She said: "I'm not complaining it was marvellous at first. But it dropped off a cliff about three weeks ago when the pubs opened. "I guess it was people preparing, knowing they were going to be able to go out again, and they're not entertaining at home anymore. "I'm hoping it will even itself out, but I won't lie, we're in a worse position than we were before lockdown and we're trying to balance the books.
'The last week we've been really quiet, it's been different, like the novelty has worn off'
(Image: ABNM Photography)
"Luckily the wholesale side of things has opened up again, with the kinds of cafes and restaurants we're providing for, but we've had to reduce staff hours and run a smaller team. "The health and safety side of things, it's ripped me to shreds and I suffer with anxiety at the best of times." Denise Laver, of Hale Civic Society, praised the village's community spirit and ability to support each other through the crisis. She said: "I've had owners running out of stores telling me, 'Denise, we're worried about these customers' or 'Denise, we've not seen this customer in a while, are they alright?'. It's that loyalty and camaraderie in the village. "People have been really patriotic, shall we say, to the community. We like to support all things local. We look out for each other, and that's what you have to do in a pandemic."
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