Historic Market Town Takes its Future into its Own Hands
The people of Ruthin will have an opportunity to influence the future of their town during a week of events that will put Ruthin at the forefront of national debate about the role of Welsh Market Towns.
Ruthin Future Week runs from Monday 23rd May until Sunday 29th May with a sequence of events that aim to bring together politicians, professionals and the wider community to discuss the future of Ruthin, while celebrating its people, the place and its potential.
As traditional market towns struggle to keep their shops and facilities in the face of increasing competition from out-of town retail and the internet, as well as the impact of global recession, towns such as Ruthin need to see how they can reinvent themselves to make sure they don’t become sleepy ‘clone’ towns, but thrive and prosper.
Gavin Harris, chair of Bro Rhuthun Tourism Group & Ruthin Town Councillor, said: “Having already started the Ruthin Future process with a ‘masterplan’ involving designs by students from the Welsh School of Architecture last year, it’s time for the people of Ruthin to get involved by airing their views and sharing their ideas.
“It’s an exciting programme lasting seven days for voices to be heard, eyes to open and brains to engage with positive ideas about the future of Ruthin.”
The Design Commission for Wales (DCfW) is playing an integral part in the week’s event and is running an open debate called ‘Whose town is it anyway?’ on Wednesday 25 May and a seminar on Thursday May 26 entitled ‘Designed for Business’, where invited delegates will explore the power and value of design for the built environment and how it can help towns thrive.
Carole-Anne Davies, chief executive of the DCfW, said: “We’re really excited to be part of this wider programme of events about Ruthin’s future.
“The design of the built environment plays a hugely important role in the overall health and economic value of the town or city, by stimulating regeneration and tourism, encouraging investment and helping to keep it alive. We will be exploring some of these themes through our events, as Ruthin is such an interesting case study for the future of market towns.”
To find out more and register your interest in attending events please go to www.visitRuthin.com.
• Monday 23rd: Ruthin Town Council is inviting residents to their first ordinary meeting of the civic year to find out about what the council do and to meet their Councillors and new town Mayor, Robert Owen-Ellis.
• Tuesday 24th: Bro Rhuthun Tourism and Marketing Group is hosting a Marketing and Networking evening for local businesses in the dramatic atrium of Ruthin Gaol. Offering advice and marketing insight will be PR guru, Alexandra Marr, who now represents some high profile Welsh businesses, having spent the last 10 years promoting Wales in New York for visit Britain.
• The focus will turn to the 21st Century Ruthin Craft Centre on Wednesday 25th as the second stage of the Ruthin ‘Masterplan’ prepared by the Design Research Unit Wales is unveiled in a new exhibition. This will be followed by ‘Whose town is it Anyway?’ where a panel of design and town planning professionals, together with local representatives, will engage with the audience in a ‘lively debate’.
The exhibition will then run for two weeks during which local children and young people will be invited to get involved in designing Ruthin and saying how they think it should look in the future.
• Thursday 26th at Ruthin Castle: The Design Commission for Wales has invited a mix of practitioners, business people, the public and decision makers to explore the importance of design in shaping places for people, helping towns thrive and contributing to the Welsh economy.
• Friday 27th will focus on the town’s independent retailers and traders who still attract shoppers who value service and prefer unique, high quality, good value items that you struggle to find along ‘High Street Britain’. With extra promotions through the town’s Bro Rhuthun
Loyalty card, the message will be “shop on foot, save on fuel, support your local businesses”, and with parking Free after Three, a late afternoon ‘pop to the shops’ won’t cost a penny.
• On Saturday 28th is the Ruthin mini-Photomarathon. The event is open to anybody with a digital camera and an interest in getting to know Ruthin more closely through photography. Starting at 10.00am participants will be asked to take six images based on six themes in six hours all within the easily walked Ruthin Town Centre, then after downloading and judging, the best will win prizes such as a digital camera and photography equipment gift vouchers.
Ruthin’s famous Produce Market, normally held on the second Saturday of the month at the Gaol, will be on St Peter’s square, just as last year’s design students had suggested. There won’t be a problem parking as all of Ruthin’s numerous car parks will be free ALL DAY thanks to Denbighshire County Council and Ruthin Town Council.
• Sunday 29th May is the chance for budding artists to get involved in Draw on Ruthin! From 10.00am until 4.00pm this free event will see participants escorted with sketchbook and pen around the town by local artists Ann Bridges and John Butland Morgan to record what they see and find, but with places limited to 20 and a free lunch included, keen sketchers will need to get their skates on and register for a place.