Rhyl Town Centre Vision: Key areas of focus

Public Realm

The appearance of the environment is key to how people feel about a place. Rhyl town centre currently suffers from poor-quality public realm. This is predominantly due to a lack of greenery, run-down shop fronts and neglected buildings, poor quality street furniture and signage with a lot of clutter and mismatched styles.

Our aim is to create an attractive, safe and welcoming place, where people want to spend more time. We want to create a place residents can be proud of. In order to achieve this we are aiming for:

  • Co-ordinated public realm with a consistent and simple approach to street and pavement surfaces, street furniture and signage
  • Street clutter removed
  • More planting and greenery with year round interest
  • New open spaces and remodelled existing spaces with links between and to the sea
  • Iconic public art
  • Improved building frontages
  • A lighting scheme for key buildings & features
  • A robust management and maintenance programme for the public realm
Access and movement

Our experience of getting into and around a town centre plays a big part in our willingness to use it.

Most people now approach Rhyl via the A55 and A525, entering the town centre from the south over the railway line, before heading through a series of signal controlled junctions.

The existing traffic system doesn't cope well with this as it was built to cater for a heavy east-west traffic flow at a time when the A548 Coast Road was the main access route into Rhyl.

The relatively complex one way system makes routes to parking and the seafront circuitous, with visitors often complaining about a lack of clear signage. To address this we want to:

  • Identify better arrangements for prevailing traffic flows to access the town centre
  • Consider opening up at least some of the High Street to northbound traffic
  • Improve pedestrian and cyclist connectivity between the seafront and town centre
  • Completely redesign the area of highway between the town centre and the seafront, simplifying the exiting layout, reallocating road space to pedestrian and cyclists.
  • Improve directional signage and parking provision around the town centre following changes to traffic flows
Retail and Commercial

Rhyl town centre, like many others across the UK, has seen its high street decline over the last 15 years.

Pressure on household budgets, changes in consumer spending habits and competition from other places has reduced the number of people using the town centre, making it harder for businesses to survive.

This is not where we want to be. We want to bring about a significant increase in town centre footfall by:

  • Strengthening the town centre with brands that fit the new Rhyl
  • Supporting quality independent cafes and coffee shops, family restaurants and street food offers
  • Encouraging good quality bars (with good behaviour) and live music
  • Developing a wider range of popular leisure activities
  • Improving the number of better paid jobs on offer in the town centre
  • Creating new, modern spaces for people to set up in business and grow

All of these things will help bring back a wider range of customers with higher disposable incomes and greater spending power.

Residential

Successful town centres should include a mix of different uses which help to create life and activity from morning to evening. Not only does this help to create a varied and vibrant place to live, but it also contributes to improved perceptions of safety.

Residential development within town centres is an essential part of creating the right mix.

Our aim is to turn Rhyl town centre into a place where more people want to live by providing a choice of quality homes. We want to do this by using vacant space or through making better use of occupied town centre space. We want to:

  • Create an environment which enables and encourages private sector investment
  • Raise the quality of residential conversions by establishing modern contemporary spaces
  • Encourage the use of vacant upper floors for residential use
  • Encourage higher design quality by promoting creativity
  • Improve the character and quality of the town centre to raise long term property values
  • Encourage redevelopment of suitable sites within the town centre for new residential use
Raising standards

The upkeep and cleanliness of our town centres strongly influences people's perceptions of them as places to live, visit, shop and invest.

Ensuring that buildings, streets and open spaces in the town centre are well-maintained and cared for is an essential component of the longterm vision for Rhyl. To achieve this we will:

  • Engage businesses and property owners in understanding their legal responsibilities and improving the look of their buildings
  • Take a robust approach to enforcement in the town centre. We will not hesitate to use a variety of legal powers to ensure that properties are maintained to an acceptable level
  • Ensure that our enforcement approach is coordinated, consistent and transparent
  • Work closely with the Rhyl Business Improvement District to improve and maintain the cleanliness of the town centre
Queen's Buildings

The Queen's Market buildings and former Savoy Hotel site have been identified as a key catalyst project in the regeneration of Rhyl town centre.

The proposals include a contemporary market at the heart of the site along with a mix of high quality retail and food outlets, offices, apartments and open spaces sheltered from the weather.

The new development will act as a key connector, providing better access and movement between the waterfront and the town centre. It will also bring extra footfall in order to support local businesses.

4 biggest issues

The Rhyl Town Centre Vision identified the four biggest issues facing Rhyl:

1. The town has forgotten its beach

The wide tarmac of the parade and a piecemeal string of leisure attractions along the waterfront bisect the town centre and its beach.

Rhyl beach
2. A town of two halves

Broadly speaking, the town is divided into less affluent areas to the west and those with higher incomes to the east. Many locals with money to spend tend to avoid the town centre and go elsewhere.

Rhyl
3. Decline in retail

A number of larger national retailers have left the town, leaving behind an increased number of boarded up shops and vacant premises. Long term underinvestment has weakened the shopping offer and the condition of numerous commercial buildings. The wide tarmac of the parade and a piecemeal string of leisure attractions along the waterfront bisect the town centre and its beach.

Rhyl High Street
4. Rhyl has lost its identity

Once a graceful Victorian seaside town and thriving British seaside resort, Rhyl's fall from its 'bucket and spade' heyday has been dramatic. Declining tourism over the past two decades has hit Rhyl hard. However, the town now faces an exciting turning point in its development as it seeks to shake off negative perceptions and redefine itself as a great seaside town once again.

Rhyl Theatre and Ocean Beach Fun Fair

4 biggest assets 

The Rhyl Town Centre Vision identified Rhyl's four biggest assets:

1. The Beach

The Beach is one of Rhyl's biggest assets. This painting was made by David Cox in 1854. Although it is over 150 years old, it is still recognisably Rhyl. Miles of golden sandy beaches and shimmering sky; the vast open space and sea front still stand.

Rhyl beach
2. Urban Street Pattern

Unlike many towns across the country, Rhyl's historic street pattern remains intact. It was designed for people to live in and this results in a very compact, accessible and easy to understand urban fabric with striking views towards the sea and to the hills beyond.

Rhyl
3. Accessibility

From the station to the sea in five minutes, Rhyl is a very walkable town in which you don't need a car to get around.

Rhyl
4. Connectivity

Rhyl is incredibly well connected by both public transport and the surrounding road network. It also has excellent cycle connectivity and forms part of the National Cycle route 5 along the North Wales coast.

Various methods of travel: Train, bus, car, bike