As part of a two year community-led planning exercise, a week of events in 2011 organised by Ruthin Town Council aimed to generate feedback from the community about their town, its strengths and weaknesses, and generate ideas for change.
The week combined traditional consultation techniques, an exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre, workshops and written feedback, with events around the town and ‘soft’ consultation techniques such as a photo-marathon, schools event and drawing day with specific themes. The week was supported by local business through Bro Ruthin, who held their AGM during the week and helped to organise a street market and open day at a local farm shop. In partnership, the Design Commission for Wales hosted a debate, ‘Whose Town is it Anyway?’ about the town’s future, along with ‘Designed for Business’, a one day conference involving local people and experts from across Wales and the UK. The Commission also made available drawing materials and information from its ‘My Square Mile’ and ‘Drawing: a Tool for Design’ projects to provide inspiration and frameworks for the drawing days. With wide coverage in the media and online, the week-long intensive consultation period increased the profile of the project and reached a wider audience than would have been possible with one-off events.
A wide range of ideas and discussions were generated from the events, and four main talking points dominated: the role of the town square; the success or failure of the by-pass cutting through the town and the busy traffic island separating Ruthin Craft Centre from the historic town; the importance of green space and the river as places of escape; and the conflict between pedestrians and traffic at various locations around the town.