Incidental Pictures of Romiley, (Part 9)
A journey through time and space with a Canon digital camera

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2019/04/22

 57: Bank Holiday Monday—but should it be if there are no banks? 

The former NatWest bank branch in Romiley, 2019Romiley officially became bankless in March 2019 when the Royal Bank of Scotland gave up the ghost. In the good old days, the village could boast branches of four major banks, and in the 1980s, when building societies were fashionable (a role now taken by take-out eateries), just about every major building society also had a presence.
   The rot started with the disappearance of the TSB branch; after the bank had been swallowed up by Lloyds and before it was split off again as a separate institution. Next to go was Barclays, which was a real loss to the community as its ATM handed out £10 notes for small withdrawals instead of a mixture of tens and twenties. After standing empty for a while, the site was reinvented as House of Colour. Poignantly, the site of the ATM has been preserved on the side of the building.
   There was some speculation that the imposing NatWest branch, when it got the chop, would be turned into a Town Hall for Romiley or a residence for a Mayor. But nothing ever came of it and the building is now rotting quietly.

The former TSB branch in Romiley, 2019

The former TSB branch in Romiley


The former Barclays branch in Romiley, 2019

The former Barclays branch in Romiley


The former NatWest bank branch in Romiley, 2019

The former NatWest branch in Romiley


When the NatWest went, reducing the ATM population to the one at the Royal Bank of Scotland and the ones at Sainsbury's and the Post Office, there were hopes that this was the end of the carnage, given that NatWest and the RBS are parts of the same organization and it could maintain a foothold in Romiley in the smaller RBS building. But this branch, too, was doomed by the bean-counters.

The former NatWest bank branch in Romiley, 2019

The former RBS branch in Romiley

 58: A minor mystery cleared up 

What are that pillar box and the anti-ram-raider bollards doing in the shopfront of a Beauty Studio? That's where the Post Office used to be before it was moved into the newsagent's operated by the Patel family in the Precinct.

The former site of the Post Office in Romiley, 2019

The former site of the Post Office in Romiley


The current site of the Post Office in Romiley, 2019

The current site of the Post Office in Romiley—closed on Easter Monday

2020/03/28

 59: “Shutters down for Chinese corona” 

Welcome to the ghost town! The block to the west of the Stock Dove pub [top picture] was once a thriving community of small businesses with a corner shop, a newsagent, a hairdresser and a butcher. Now, it's just the horizontal skyscraper of the insurance company with an embedded Chinese takeaway; both closed.
   It really must be the end of the world if the Coral bookie [bottom picture] has been obliged to shut up shop. Only the Handyman DIY shop and the newsagent/Post Office to the west of it are still open in that block. On the other side of the Forum, J.H. Neal's fruit & veg. shop and the adjacent Sainsbury Local are still open. The former RBS branch remains shuttered and unwanted.

Compstall Road, Romiley, March 2020

Compstall Road, Romiley, March 2020

Compstall Road, Romiley, March 2020

2020/07/12

 60: “Plaguetown!” 

Compstall Road, Romiley, July 2020Three months on, the ghost town is somewhat less ghostly with shops open again and café at No. 29 serving customers out in the street. But C&C [see Section 59] still has its shutters firmly down.
   The once brand-new lamp posts could do with a lick of paint. But expecting the council to spend our money on something useful is wishful, to say the least. There are signs up telling us to keep our distance; like we didn't know that; including one next to the still unwanted former NatWest bank branch.
   The owners seem to have given up on trying to rent out the building and it looks like they are hoping to sell it to someone who would like to create six new flats right at the heart of things.
   Let us hope they manage to unload the place before the rotting window frames give up the ghost completely and all the windows fall out and shatter on to the Pavement of Death, making it an even greater hazard to health!

Compstall Road, Romiley, July 2020

Compstall Road, Romiley, July 2020

2020/11/18

 61: Changes 

Stockport council is eager to spent a government grant on traffic calming in Romiley. There are now lots of signs with 20 and 30 on them for new speed zones and the main road has been outfitted with some speed bumps. The ones shown are at the eastern side of the village centre, just before the Stock Dove pub. Crafty motorists who don't want to lift off their accelerator can zoom to the left of the one on the north side of the road if there is nothing parked at the beginning of the on-road parking zone.
   Speeding police cars don't appreciate the 'speed cushions', as they are known in official jargon. Ambulances with a patient aboard have been observed to crawl over them at less than walking pace. Crossing the road near the Stock Dove is now a lengthier process due to the queues of slow-moving vehicles in the bump zone.

Compstall Road, Romiley, new speed bumps

Meanwhile, the former home of the NatWest bank has been acquired by a firm which maintains the money theme . . .

The new SuperPound store,  Romiley

 61a: A bit later . . . 

Open before the end of the lockdown which finished on December 2nd, the new business is doing business.

The new SuperPound store,  Romiley

2021/March

 62: Signage 

Some signs make sense, such as the one warning about the risk of becoming stuck under a low bridge by mindlessly following SatNav instructions. The safe spacing reminder also has value. But the one about the road layout is total garbage. The roads in Romiley are exactly the same; apart from the added speed bumps. People in vehicles are safely spaced and people on foot don't form Chinese plague-spreading crowds on roads.
   Some council minion obviously blew a fuse just before ordering this particular sign.

Signs in Romiley 1

Talking about blown fuses . . .There are also signs about eight feet up some of the black lamp posts at the centre of the village assuring us that there is "ONE Stockport" in various colours. Nothing else is provided in the way of information, and the viewers and people who have paid for the signs are left to make up their own tag lines.
   Such as the addition of "is probably quite enough".

Signs in Romiley 2

 62x: Updates 

Some news on businesses changing hands or appearance. The former RBS branch is now something called Artisan Alley, which turns out to be a bottle shop & bar & off-licence, just like the one just across the road. Something Romiley was really desperate for. It also has a Rear Garden for customers to park their rear, and a deli, just like the one across the road next door to the bar across the road.
   The bookie has been turned into a property speculation parlour with a 4-seater breakfast bar and a one-table coffee lounge, which doesn't seem to get much custom. Further east along the main road, the branch office of the undertaker has become a foot clinic.
   Backing up a bit, Super Pound Plus has been condensed to SPP Bargain, which abolishes the poundshop connection and lets them stock items costing more than a pound with a clear conscience.
   Most of the ONE Stockport signs [picture above] disappeared and by August 2021, there was just ONE of them in the centre of the village, which seems appropriate.

2022/January

 63: They Shall Not Pass 

The normally busy bustle of traffic through the village was reduced to a trickle at the weekends to allow work to be done on the bridge at Romiley station. Pedestrians were not required to take a lengthy detour through the back streets to the south of Compstall Road/Stockport road. The north and south pavements under the bridge were kept open on alternate weekends.

Repairs to Romiley station bridge 1
View from the west, from Stockport Road, 2022/01/09

Repairs to Romiley station bridge 2
View from the east, from Compstall Road, 2022/01/09

2022/first Sunday in March

 64: Now you see them, now you don’t 

Repairs to Romiley station bridge 2 Not long after the 'speed cushions' were installed on Compstall Road, they began to vanish. The first to go were the pair just before the bus stop to the east of the junction with Sandy Lane.
   That picture in Section 61 (above) of the speed bumps near the Stock Dove is now ancient history.
   The impediments have been erased and there is nothing left to remind people of how local politicians waste the taxpayers' cash distributed to them by central government on pointless gestures. Two grand per bump for half a dozen pairs. Plus the cost of installing & removal. Not cheap by any manner of means.
   Nothing, apart from a few dents in the road surface to mirror where the knobbles on the last-removed speed bumps were, remains of them now. The picture shows what's left of the one on the north side of Compstall road, in front of the BP petrol station.

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