MICHAEL Gove paid a visit to Rhyl and Ruthin to hear first-hand about regeneration projects that are being supported by millions of pounds in levelling up funding from the government.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up was shown around the towns on Saturday, February 24 and heard about improvements to come.

Denbighshire County Council was awarded £20 million in the most recent round of the Levelling Up Fund, with over half of the funding (about £11 million) committed to regenerating Rhyl.

Rhyl Journal: Michael Gove is taken on a tour of RhylMichael Gove is taken on a tour of Rhyl (Image: Submitted)
Mr Gove viewed the Queen's Market development site and learnt about works taking place on Central Promenade. He was shown the front and back of the Queen's Market as part of the wider tour of the town centre and seafront. 

During his visit, Mr Gove praised the "big-hearted" community and called the resort's expansive beach "beautiful".

Rhyl Journal: Mr Gove was shown the works on Central PromenadeMr Gove was shown the works on Central Promenade (Image: Submitted)
He said: "It's a place with great spirit that in the past has been dependent on its visitor economy. This money will help support the town change in a way that attracts business investment and that's a place for families as well as visitors.

“Levelling Up money is helping to transform Rhyl. It’s had big challenges but the town has a big heart and a great future.”

Rhyl Journal: Dr James Davies with Michael GoveDr James Davies with Michael Gove (Image: Dr James Davies)
Mr Gove learnt about improvement projects during his visit to Ruthin; Denbighshire County Council was awarded £10.95 million from Round Two of the Levelling Up Fund to support the development of 10 projects in Clwyd West.

Rhyl Journal: Michael Gove in RuthinMichael Gove in Ruthin (Image: Submitted)
Work is to focus on St Peter's Square, St Peter's Church and Cloisters, Ruthin Clock Tower, grade 2* Ruthin Gaol - a new entrance is to be added via 46 Clwyd Street and the Grade 1 listed derelict West Wing of Ruthin Nantclwyd-y-Dre which is to be restored.

A scheme to improve connectivity through Cae Ddol park, and between the park and the town centre, is also set to take place. 

Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, who hosted Mr Gove in Rhyl, said: "Mr Gove picked up immediately on the great spirit of the town.

Rhyl Journal: Mr Gove takes a tour around the historic town of RuthinMr Gove takes a tour around the historic town of Ruthin (Image: Submitted)
“Nobody is denying that Rhyl is not without its problems, but it has huge potential and now that Levelling Up funding has been assigned to the town, that potential can be better realised.

“The minister saw beyond the issues facing Rhyl and rightly focused on its assets, including its beautiful beach and welcoming residents. 


“It is easy to talk a town down, and we have seen too much of this in the national press in recent years. It is far from helpful when to ensure its success, we need to attract visitors.   

“If we are to be truly successful in turning the fortunes of Rhyl around, it’s important that we all get behind it, and, like the Secretary of State, start focusing on the positives and what can be achieved here.”

Rhyl Journal: Mr Gove in Ruthin. David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, pictured left, hosted Mr Gove in RuthinMr Gove in Ruthin. David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, pictured left, hosted Mr Gove in Ruthin (Image: Submitted)
David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, who hosted Mr Gove in Ruthin, said: "I was very pleased to take Michael Gove on a brief tour of Ruthin. He was welcomed by Father Huw Bryant, who showed him the proposals for the improvement of Saint Peter’s church.

"We then visited St Peter’s Square in the company of cllrs Hugh Evans and Bobby Feeley. Mike Jones  of Denbighshire County Council showed him the plans for the square and set out the timeline for the work.

"The Secretary of State was impressed with both Ruthin and the improvement plans. I invited him to return when the work is complete."

Projects set out for Rhyl and Ruthin in connection to the Levelling up Funding:

Rhyl / Denbighshire: Denbighshire have been awarded £20m from Levelling Up Round 3 which they are using to tackle deep rooted deprivation through pride of place and the natural environment. Funding is spread cross three projects although only project one will be visited on this occasion.

  • Project one focuses on Rhyl: Town centre public realm and green infrastructure including a new Pocket park at a key entry location to the town.
  • Queens Market public realm: street furniture (e.g., cycle shelter, cycle stand, tree seating, retractable canopy, ground lighting), fencing and soft landscaping.
  • Central Promenade scheme: re-connecting the town centre with the promenade and beach. A phased approach to public realm improvements incorporating a greener / natural public realm and unifying the leisure offer.
  • Project two focuses on inner Denbighshire. Restoration of the important Grade 2* listed former hospital building and regeneration of the site to provide mixed residential and business use (Denbigh Hospital).
  • Project Three plans public realm activities within Prestatyn Town, repurposing the nature walk into an active travel route, and conversion of the signal box.


The funds will go towards improvements for:

  • St Peter's Square is a scheme of public realm improvements to improve pedestrian and traffic flows around the square and to facilitate a more flexible central events space.
  • St Peter's Church & Cloisters will be improvements to better preserve these heritage buildings and ensure they are more accessible to all.
  • Ruthin Clock Tower is a programme of repair and renovation of the clock tower.
  • A new entrance to the grade 2* Ruthin Gaol will be added via 46 Clwyd Street with improved facilities available for public use.
  • Restoration to the Grade 1 listed derelict West Wing of Ruthin Nantclwyd-y-Dre.
  • A scheme of public realm improvements seeking to improve connectivity through Cae Ddol park, and between the park and the town centre.
  • The second strand will focus on protecting Ruthin’s rural communities and wellbeing through improvements to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB sites of Loggerheads and Moel Famau) and new community hubs in the rural surrounding villages of Bryneglwys and Gwyddelwern.