Abergele is a small, rural town in the county of Conwy in North Wales. Situated between Colwyn Bay and Prestatyn, lying between the coast and Snowdonia mountains and with great road and rail links, Abergele provides a great environment to live-in. All reasons why 750 new homes are planned to be built in Abergele over the next few years.
A new edge of town Tesco has replaced Abergele’s former cattle market and a spring survey revealed a struggling town centre with low footfall, a 15% business vacancy rate, an ageing population and dissatisfaction with traffic, parking, the variety of shops and the look of the town from businesses and shoppers.
The initial spur for local leadership of a town revival has largely come from Conwy Council piloting the Place Planning in Abergele. Place Plans are a new idea being backed by the Welsh Government and the Abergele Place Plan will be based on what the community of Abergele wants to see improved, promoted and enhanced. Part of the role of the Place Plan will be to reconcile the pressures on the town centre with the opportunities provided by upwards of 2,000 new residents.
As the Place Planning in Abergele has developed, Conwy Council have sought to engage with and involve local groups including an emerging Business Forum which brings together businesses to develop a collective view on issues and has aspirations to jointly promote the town and perhaps run events. The Town Council is closely involved in the planning process and existing community groups including the progressive,youth-based social enterprise, Itaca, could provide mechanisms for delivering different aspects of an overall plan. Led from a strategic intent, the Place Planning in Abergele recognises that long-term successes will depend on nurturing the talents of local leaders.
Local Town and County Councillor, Sam Rowlands, comments, “Local leadership is a fine balance between pushing ahead with the immediate local need and always trying to consider the wider context and impact. With the Abergele Placemaking Plan there is clearly a need to bring about improvements to the town centre and the town more widely but this has to sit in well within the context of development planning in this county and neighbouring authorities; all of which impact each other. My role as a locally elected member of the council is to ensure that the mix of all this together results in the best possible outcome for those that have elected me.”
Read more about good practice in leading a local revival .