Gordon Wilkinson paints Romiley (with audio)

PUBLISHED: 19:39 02 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:47 20 February 2013

Gordon Wilkinson paints Romiley (with audio)

Gordon Wilkinson paints Romiley (with audio)

Gordon Wilkinson takes his easel to pretty Romiley, where the fight is on to keep it local <br/>Words by Sarah Coles

Click the picture on the right to start playing the audio

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The recession has claimed many victims around the world but the people of Romiley are working hard to ensure their local economy remains buoyant.

The ancient village, which lies four miles from Stockport, has managed to resist decades of urban sprawl to retain its rural beauty. And now the villagers are fighting to cling on to their precious shops and amenities.

A Shop Local scheme is encouraging more people to support businesses in the village and so far, 10,000 leaflets have been distributed to local houses, businesses, transport and information centres, as well as 1,000 reusable Shop Romiley carrier bags.

Cassandra Mailvaganam, assistant project officer for the District and Local Centres Regeneration Team, said the scheme would have local and global benefits. The Romiley Shop Local Campaign has been launched to encourage residents to shop locally, support the local economy and in turn secure jobs and reduce their carbon footprint while retaining the vitality and viability of the centre.

Interior designer Ann Swainbank, who has run Gainsborough Interiors in Romiley for 37 years, said: This is a lovely and friendly place, with lots of cafes, bars and parks - it has a nice atmosphere and its a good place to live, work and shop. But people arent really shopping in villages anymore and if they dont then theyre going to lose us.

And Jonathon Cunningham, the chairman of the Romiley Village Partnership and manager of Key Holidays, added: The residents of Romiley are fiercely loyal to their local independent retailers which really boosts the community spirit and improves the local area which is evident through the friendly village atmosphere.

As a result of the tireless campaigning by local businesses and residents, Romiley has been able to maintain a thriving, bustling retail industry, and this - combined with the strong sense of community spirit - ensures that it remains a pleasant area, both to visit and live in.

Keith Castree, the owner of Castrees Auto Bar, said: Like all small villages and businesses the area is struggling so hopefully the Shop Local Campaign will help. Romiley is only a small village but it is a nice area with a good variety of shops.

Romiley had always been agricultural, and it was not until the Victorian era, and the Industrial Revolution, that the town become more suburban. The Peak Forest Canal was completed in 1800, and the Oakwood Mill was built beside the canal in the 1830s.

To further emphasise Romileys green characteristics, the village is close to the Peak District and is home to the Etherow Country Park, one of the largest in the area. Visitors can also sample the country delights of nearby Chadkirk Country Estate and its 14th century chapel, which celebrates an annual well dressing ceremony as part of a Celtic tradition.
The western area of Romiley has also been made into a conservation area, to help reduce traffic and preserve the rural landscape and local wildlife.

Fact file

Romiley was referred to as 'Rumelie' in the Domesday Book, a name derived from the Anglo Saxon word meaning 'spacious woodland clearing'. The village was described as a piece of medieval 'wasteland'.

Cheryl Mellor, whose brother is actor Will Mellor (Hollyoaks and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) runs a caf in the village centre, called Mellors.

The Chadkirk Estate is thought to date back to 1086, if it is the 'Cedde' referred to in the Domesday Book. The church was extended in 1995.

Go to www.chadkirkchapel.org.uk for more information about the Chadkirk Estate and chapel.

Where it is: Romiley is four miles east of Stockport on the B6104. Romiley railway station, in the centre of the village, has good links to Manchester and Sheffield. Type SK6 4DB into your sat nav to find the village centre.

Where to park:
Pay and display car parks are located in the Romiley Precinct, and also in Dye Lane and Guywood Lane, beside the station.

What to do: Take advantage of Romiley's rural beauty and go for a summer stroll along the canal or in the surrounding parks. Alternatively, there are a number of busy, bustling shops and cafes in the town centre.

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