A TOWN named 'The Best Place to Live in Wales' by the Sunday Times is embarking on its largest community engagement project yet. 

Ruthin Town Council is asking how the historic market town should face new challenges and maximise the opportunities it has to continue to be a "great place to live, work and visit in the future", whilst also sharing it’s successful approach with other communities to ensure small towns and rural communities can thrive.

The engagement period will enable to the council to outline how ambitions are progressing and projects in partnership with other stakeholders. Projects include for The Heart of The Town and creating ‘Parc Clwyd’ by improving the network of Green spaces within the town. 

Cllr Anne Roberts, mayor of Ruthin, said: "The title of 'best place to live in Wales' is so welcome, and justified in my view, but I am biased I admit. However, we don't do enough to get that message out in my opinion, nor does Denbighshire County Council, we need to work harder in promoting what we have to offer. However, I think this Ruthin Future initiative will assist in this.

"Yr Hen Lys/The Old Courthouse project has been such an exciting journey, from putting in the bid to purchase, to securing the building as a community hub, and a base for Ruthin Town Council. A tremendous amount of work has gone into where we are today, even with Covid intervening, and I am so proud that the official launch is happening during my mayoral year.

"The iconic building, situated in St Peter's Square will be a real asset to the town and its residents, and Ruthin Town Council, as its guardian, will ensure it has a long and successful future."

Ruthin councillor Gavin Harris said: "Ruthin Future as a community engagement event has taken place regularly for over 10 years, with the residents sharing their concerns, ambitions and ideas about how the town can improve. It was their voice which has led to various projects being prioritised, and this year as the Ruthin and area has been successful in obtaining funding for those ambitions - it demonstrates how important it is for residents to get involved, as with persistence we can deliver those changes.

"Having been shortlisted last year, it is a great accolade for Ruthin to be named best place to live in 2023, but the judges - having been kept informed of our projects and initiatives including Ruthin Future, referenced the town as a place with ‘Ambition’. This acknowledges that we are on a journey and have to maintain momentum and ambition to deliver for the future.

"We anticipate other towns winning next year, but hope to see Ruthin celebrated again once the projects in development are delivered."

As part of the initiative, residents will have numerous opportunities to engage through a programme of events.


Educators and professionals in planning, regeneration and engagement will gather on Wednesday, September 20 for the Ruthin Future Small Town Summit with speakers from The Design Commission for Wales, The UK Urban Rooms Network and UK Government Levelling Up team.

Cllr Harris added: "From the outset - Ruthin Future developed a number of statements to summarise the desires of the local community - these include 'Ruthin is a small town - and should remain so' and 'Ruthin must play to its strengths - History, Landscape, Arts and Crafts'. Since then, Ruthin Town Council - often in partnership with others, have supported small or modest projects and initiatives which could build on these - from the Art Trail connecting the town centre to Ruthin Craft Centre, or more recently the development of Yr Hen Lys into a Community, Civic and Visitor Hub.

"The Ruthin Future place plan is not a fixed thing and has adapted over time to reflect new challenges or strengths. This includes the growing importance of sports and recreation across the town which gave impetus to our winning bid for Ruthin to be home to the North Wales outdoor velodrome a project currently in development, but supported by funding in full from Sports Wales of £2.3 million.

"Equally the successful Clwyd West levelling Up bid drawing in £12m investment for 10 projects in and near the town reflects the importance of developing a place plan, and having a long term strategic vision and ambition."

Ruthin Future is Ruthin Town Council's community place plan initiative which was established in 2011. It has supported the implementation of a number of projects, including the Ruthin Art Trail, and more recently the creation of a Community, Civic and Visitor hub in Yr Hen Lys / The Old Courthouse. 

It’s formal opening on September 16 will mark the start of Ruthin Future events, and it’s spaces provide a home for activities and the exhibition.  

Information and registration for all events is on www.rhuthun.com

The programme is as follows:

Friday, September 15: The Old Courthouse Sponsors Preview Evening Invitational event for funders and sponsors. Attendance by Invitation and RSVP.

Saturday September 16: The Old Courthouse Official Opening Formal opening by the mayor cllr Anne Roberts and local school children at 11.15am, followed by heritage exhibition and children’s activities from 12pm. Entry free. 12pm until 4pm.

Monday, September 18: Until September 30, Ruthin Future 2023 Exhibition Exhibition of projects and ideas for the town. Residents and visitors can share their views, find out more and get involved in exciting projects that aim to enhance the wellbeing, community cohesion and vibrancy of Ruthin. Entry free. 10am - 4pm.

Tuesday, September 19: Denbighshire Destination Partnership Quarterly meeting of representatives from across the county’s hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors. Meeting for partnership members only.

Wednesday, September 20: Ruthin Future Town Centre Summit Invitational event for community councils from across the UK to hear about the benefits of placemaking, place plans and community engagement - in association with Design Commission for Wales & UK Urban Rooms. Attendance by invitation and registration.

Thursday, September 21: Health and Wellbeing Informal introduction to the classes, facilities and friendly faces that can support everyone - young and old - on a journey to a healthier and happier life. Entry free. 6.30pm until 8.30pm.

Friday, September 22: Open Day for Schools School hosted visits to where pupils can contribute their own ideas about Ruthin Future. Attendance by pre-arranged school visits

Saturday, September 23: Join in Coffee Morning Monthly coffee morning hosted by RTC to showcase a particular community group. September is U3A - a network of learning groups aimed at encouraging older people to share their skills and knowledge. Entry free. 11am until 1pm.

Saturday, September 23: Draw on Ruthin Artist led tour for budding artists of all abilities to discover Ruthin in more detail by sketching the town. Take part free. Online registration (limited spaces).

Sunday, September 24: Ruthin mini Photo-Marathon. A photography competition with a difference - six themes and max six hours - open to all abilities, ages with prizes for the best collection of photos. Take part for free by registration. 10am until 4pm.

Monday, September 25: Ruthin Town Council - Full Council Meeting Monthly hybrid meeting - the public can attend in person or view proceedings online via Facebook Live. Informal opportunity to meet the councillors at 6.30pm. Attendance free, meeting starts 7pm.

Tuesday, September 26: Ruthin Forum - Community Group Networking Community groups event to share their views and activities to encourage strategic collaboration. Meeting 7pm until 8.30pm.

Wednesday, September 27: Protecting Ruthin and District’s Unique Heritage In association with Ruthin & District Civic Association, guest speaker Chris Evans - Denbighshire County Conservation Officer, will give an insightful talk on approaches and efforts to protect the areas unique built heritage. Entry free by registration.

Thursday, September 28: Environment and Climate Forum. Join representatives of organisations focussed on Climate and Environmental challenges to discover how local action can support our route to net zero. Entry free by registration. 7pm until 8.30pm

Friday, September 29: Mayor’s Cheese and Wine Fundraising Evening. Fundraising evening supporting Mayors Good Causes Location Ruthin Gaol - Entry: Ticket £15 purchase from Siop Nain, The Old Courthouse or Anne Roberts.

Saturday, September 30: Town 2 Tower 10K Run Organised by local fitness company Out-fit this uphill race from Yr Hen Lys on St Peter’s Square to Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau will see between 100 and 150 runners take on this new challenge. Entry and Registration via www.out-fit.co.uk