Ruthin: Market Town of the Future brought together the local community, architects, planners and specialists to evaluate the North Wales market town and develop a community-led project through real public consultation. The project suggested ways of conserving, caring for and improving the fragile character and environment of the UK’s market towns, led by local people, in a strategy complementary to local planning policy.
The community-led project aimed to explore the physical aspects of the town - its character, buildings, spaces between buildings, parks and surroundings. Conceived to provide a framework for the development of the town over the next decade, the plan drew together the numerous projects proposed or in progress around the town and proposed new ideas. These were presented in a coherent strategy and a vision for the future. Wide consultation has raised awareness of the project and given the community a platform from which to explore their town. The two-year development process has enabled the project to respond to changes within the town in a way that a short term vision could not, drawing in many strands of activity and potential projects.
Through close partnerships between Ruthin Town Council and Design Research Unit Wales, the project delivered a workable process for the town that is transferable to other places. The involvement of the Design Commission for Wales maintained the rigour of the project and ensured a high quality outcome.
Projects incorporated or proposed include:
- Ruthin Art Trail: An Arts Council Wales funded project to link the internationally known Ruthin Craft Centre to the town centre
- A successful bid for Safer Routes funding to link the town and surroundings
- A new pedestrian link to Cae Ddol, the town’s largest park
- A proposal for a one way system with additional short-stay on-street parking, being explored further by the Local Authority
- Removal of a roundabout on the market square, reducing the impact of traffic and increasing the usable area of the square for markets and events, being explored further by the Local Authority
- Improving heritage trails
- Marking gateways
- Rationalising parking
- Client: Ruthin Town Council
- Consultant: Design Research Unit Wales
- Funders: Ruthin Town Council; Beacon for Wales
- In kind sponsorship: Bro Ruthin, Ruthin Craft Centre, The Welsh School of Architecture, Ruthin Castle, The Anchor Inn and Manorhaus
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