NEW £30 million plans to rejuvenate the Queen's Market complex in Rhyl town centre have been met with a mixed response.

The first conceptual drawings of Denbighshire County Council's plans with partners Ion Developments considering the transformation of 97,000 sq ft site show intentions for a mixed use space including retail, food and a contemporary market space.

Rhyl Journal:

The current Queen's Market front in Rhyl town centre

Work is now progressing on the initial designs, costings and viability of the project, which forms part of the long term vision for Rhyl Town Centre exhibited in the former Granite Outdoors shop at the beginning of April, before a planning application is submitted later this year.

Graham Boase, the council’s corporate director for the economy and public realm, said: “We see the Queen’s Buildings as key in the regeneration of Rhyl. This site will be pivotal in linking the regeneration on the waterfront to the town centre and providing a fantastic offer in its own right. This project can transform the town centre.

"After 12 months of working with businesses, residents and visitors to Rhyl the feedback was that the town centre needed a vibrant market space to draw people into the town centre and increase footfall. This will help support and grow businesses and our vision sees local, independent traders as central to this, creating jobs and opportunities in the area."

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However, the plans have received a more measured response from ward councillor Joan Butterfield, who is hoping for potentially “more imaginative use” of the space.

Cllr Butterfield said: “I don’t want to pour cold water on the plans, I know that the council bought the site it to move development forward, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are the right people to decide what’s best for it.

“I do worry that we’re perhaps being a bit more inward thinking than outward, and we have to think about its use for future generations. I am hoping that there is some wriggle room in the plans for something a bit more imaginative.

“I appreciate that the plans are very open ended with the mixed usage, but it’s not tremendously ambitious."

Rhyl Journal:

The rejuvenated Queen's complex will be a pivotal piece in Rhyl's ongoing development

The open ended plans also earmark space for residential use as well as an open courtyard and public space taking in the former Savoy Hotel.

Cllr Butterfield added: “It’s not written in stone how the development proceeds, but perhaps if we were to open it up to the right outside investment we could have something very different.

“At the very least, I’d like to see some opportunities for play, to continue to bring families into Rhyl even in the winter months, and a flexible approach to having a market place that could perhaps allow for different types of stalls – for example for a farmers market, a flower market or a continental market – on different weeks.”

Currently, parts of the historic buildings are in poor condition, with plans aiming to retain as much of the original architecture as possible although Mr Boase admits some area will inevitably have to be demolished.

Rhyl Journal:

Inside the one of the old arcades could be turned into an entrance hall with residential properties above. Picture: Geoff Abbott GA180419A

The site will remain open in the coming months with current occupiers continuing to trade as the council continues to examine the complex to assess the existence of any historic remnants of the building's past, including the semi-mythic Little Venice attraction.

Rhyl Journal:

The large site will feature a mix of uses in new plans

However, the plans have been welcomed by Rhyl historian Stuart Jones.

Mr Jones said: "I think it will be good for the future of our beautiful town. I say good luck to Rhyl, the improvements so far are impressive. Rhyl is a lovely town to live in, and I really think it will be a better future for people to live and visit too."

A pre-planning consultation will be launched later this summer offering residents and businesses the chance to have their say on the more detailed plans as part of the ongoing project consultation.