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Group reveals ambitious plans for regeneration of Victorian town hall

01 May 2024 4 minute read
Ruthin Town Hall. Photo DaniMSC is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Plans have been revealed for a million-pound plus regeneration project centered on a Grade II listed former town hall, which dates back to the 1860s.

Ruthin Artisan Markets, a not-for-profit organisation, has big plans for Ruthin Town Hall and the adjoining Market Hall and the old fire station.

Its regeneration plans include a multi-generational community hub, which could include a teen hangout café, shop-mobility scheme, and autism and disability-focused facilities, including a changing room at the complex.

The plans could also include a sensory garden, tourist information, memory wall, and future events such as pop-up restaurants held in the café at the council-owned grade-two listed buildings on Wynnstay Road.

The group behind the plans have been awarded £500K from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, £30,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund, and additional funds from charity Mencap.

The company is now targeting further funds to raise the £1.25m in total needed for the building project.

Ruthin Artisan Markets are currently holding their regular markets at the Town Hall on Fridays and Saturdays, where stall holders are selling fresh veg, honey, clothing, candles, and homeware.

Market Hall

But the regular market will move back from the Town Hall to the adjoining Market Hall once refurbishment work is complete (at the Market Hall), which includes asbestos removal, on May 10.

Ruthin Artisan Markets’ head Bernadette O’Malley has applied to Denbighshire County Council’s planning department, seeking permission to convert the Citizens Advice Bureau at the old fire station into a café.

If that happens, she says the old fire building will then be used as a dedicated space for the town’s teens, helping to combat anti-social behaviour.

Hub

“The town hall project is about creating a multi-generational community hub with a heavy focus on people with neurodiversity and disabilities,” she said.

“So we are going to have a shop-mobility scheme where people can rent mobility scooters, walking aids, things like that.

“We are going to have a changing place facility. So that’s like a disabled toilet, but it has also got a changing table for adults with a hoist and a shower, so it is a really enhanced disability facility.

“We have a café in the market hall, and the idea is that if in time (the Citizens Advice Bureau left), we would move in there (the fire station) and have a teen hangout space for after school to help address anti-social behaviour that has been happening in the town.

“We would move the café into the old fire station, and there is a second floor in there where we would host a teen hangout zone where we would have an air hockey table, a pool table, arcade games, maybe an Xbox, just a hangout space for them. We will do a hangout zone either way, but if we have that building, that would be a more permanent space.”

She added, “I’m really looking forward to it. It has been something I’ve been thinking about for a few years, so it is nice to be able to put the buildings back into use, especially the top floor of the town hall because it has not been used in a really long time, and a lot of people remember when they came here for dances, or when their parents did. So we will be asking people to bring photos of the dances and memories and get copies and hopefully have a memory wall as well.”

The planning application for the café is currently with Denbighshire County Council’s planning department and will likely be discussed at a future planning committee meeting.


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