Debate continues to rage in Ramsbottom over a new shop’s front.
the Manchester Evening News reported a backlash as locals took issue with its appearance.
The Tech Zone/Mega Store on Bolton Road only recently opened – and its frontage became the talk of the town on a local Facebook group.
Some called the store’s appearance an ‘eyesore’ not in keeping with the feel of the rest of the row of shops.
Others – including the store’s owner Istiqlal Hanif – couldn’t care less.
There have been accusations of snobbery and references to the ‘look’ of Cheetham Hill – countered by comments referring to a ‘fantastic uplift’ to an ’18th century area’.
“Shame they chose that signage as it doesn’t fit into the beautiful town, shops and bars Ramsbottom is proud of,” said one Facebook user.
Another said pointedly: “It’s about time people of Ramsbottom got their heads from up their a***s.”
Mr Nanif sensibly didn’t get involved.
The issue first became apparent on the Facebook group, What’s on in Ramsbottom, when people were quick to voice their opinions over the store’s look – it operates as a tech repair shop as well as a general store selling all sorts from DIY supplies to gift cards and stationary.
“We were going to do leaflets but there was no need because everyone was going mad on Facebook. They’ve done it for us,” said Mr Nanif in response.
But the debate – an intriguing mixture of mirth, incredulity and heartfelt passion – now shows signs of abating, as comments on our story prove.
“Whinging snobs who don’t like the look of the shop could always rent or buy a shop and decorate it to their own taste.” said one poster on the MEN website.
Another added: “It could be far worse, it could be another takeaway, dishing out processed slop in polystyrene boxes, increasing national obesity and contributing to litter everywhere which can take up to 100 years to rot away.”
And another wag quipped: “He’s not going anywhere anyway unless he changes his signage…it’s a stationary shop…”
“Well when their mobile phone screen cracks and they can now go down the road to get it fixed in an hour for a fraction of the price rather than having to go in to Bury, Bolton or Manchester, they might start to appreciate it,” typed one commentator.
“Maybe they don’t have mobile phones in Ramsbottom just morse code and yodelling.”
Others pointed to a ‘conservation zone’.
“People are right to complain, these shop frontages don’t fit with the character of the street,” said another poster.
“It’s a conservation area,” said another.
“When I ran a shop in a conservation zone I got in trouble for painting it the wrong shade of blue.
“I can’t believe this is acceptable.”
One MEN reader said: “It might not be all that, but if you don’t look after what you’ve got you’re soon left with nothing.
“Nice high streets are a rarity these days.
“It’s telling that the ones that are nice are those which are sustainable, and the ones that look nasty are quickly shuttered.”
“There are a lot of empty spaces on that road where the shops have closed down. So new shops should be welcome,” said Paula on Facebook, with an air of calm.
Barbara posted: “It is pretty awful to look at, but so are some of the other shops along the row.
“Pity that the shopfronts don’t seem to be regulated by an historical society. Properly sign-written lettering and National Trust colors would make the place look more like a village.”
And Debbie added: “Surely if this brings more business to a little rural village the locals should be incredibly happy.
“Does it really matter what the sign looks like so long as the service and products they provide keep people in work and shops open instead of empty which in my opinion looks worse. Good luck to the owners and may they have a prosperous future.”
Democracy is nothing without debate.
And judging by the response to our article, this one won’t be going away anytime soon.
Sign up to the MEN email newsletters to get the latest on sport, news, what’s on and more by following this link
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.