Last week, our Co-Chair Simon Quin was in Denbigh meeting with local authority members and senior officers from across the County of Denbighshire as well as with Town Clerks from the county’s eight towns (Rhyl, Prestatyn, Llangollen, Denbigh, Corwen, Rhuddlan, Ruthin and the City of St Asaph). We discussed global and national changes to town centres, some of the latest data on trends and forecasts, and what Institute research has shown about how to respond.

The meeting followed a briefing in the Autumn with more than 30 officers from the authority who had responsibility for services that impacted on town centres.

Denbighshire already monitor footfall round the clock in seven of their centres, and following last week’s meeting this will be extended to all eight. They also use other data sources to understand the profile of the towns and their visitors and this forms part of a recent town by town health check report.

The towns in the county have very different roles and backgrounds, from those on the North Wales coast to agriculturally-based market towns. Understanding the nature of responses required is important if the towns are to thrive in the future.

The meeting generated substantial discussion and also heard about the role of community planning across the county and the active engagement of many local groups. We were very happy to support Denbighshire as they look to the future.

This briefing followed a visit to Dover by Simon Quin where he spent the day with the Council Leader and senior officers talking about the challenges for town centres and the opportunities for Dover and recent workshops led by Institute Director Steve Millington with key stakeholders in Salisbury, Chorlton and Withington who are looking at the vitality and viability of their locations.