Page last updated at 06:29 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 07:29 UK

Architecture students design 'masterplan' for Ruthin

Phil Ebbrell, Denbighshire's conservation architect, showing the students around Ruthin
The students will spend three days studying Ruthin's buildings and layout

A group of architecture students are helping to design a "master plan" for a Denbighshire town.

The Ruthin: Market Town of the Future project is the brainchild of town mayor and trained architect Gavin Harris.

He persuaded his former teacher, Wayne Forster, head of the Design Research Unit Wales, to allow students to study the area.

Ideas will be presented to members of the public next month, and could help shape a design plan for the future.

The aim of the project is a long-term master plan produced by local people, against which any future developments will be judged.

Mr Harris, 39, the current mayor, a local hotel owner, said he persuaded his former teacher to become involved because, as an architect himself, he appreciated the benefits it would bring.

He said: "What's important is to see that Ruthin has a bit of a broader view to show how it should be in the future."

He said the project was costing less than £5,000.

"If we had not done it this way, we would never have been able to afford it. A private practice would charge £40,000-£50,000," he said.

Mr Harris added that the results would be put on the town council's website with an opportunity for people to vote for the space that that they "most loved" or "most loathed".

Wayne Forster is head of the Design Research Unit Wales and deputy head of the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University.

Some of his students are currently in the middle of a three-day tour of Ruthin, studying buildings, layout, and the way the town operates.

The students, in their first and second years, will then return to Cardiff to draw up ideas which will be presented to the Wales Design Unit.

The Wales Design Unit will then help finalise some of the ideas, which will be shown to Ruthin residents in May.

It is hoped some of the ideas could form a master plan of future ideas for the town.

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