Wales

Ruthin courthouse could re-open as community hub by summer

Old Courthouse, Ruthin
Image caption The 15th Century building was last in use as a bank which closed in 2017

A 600-year-old building in Denbighshire could be transformed into a multi-purpose space for the community by the summer.

The 15th Centry Old Courthouse in Ruthin has been empty since it closed as a bank in 2017.

Ruthin Town Council has now acquired the timber-framed premises, and aims to re-open it to the public by the summer.

It is hoped the building could host meetings and events, showcase products sold by shops, and house exhibitions.

Gavin Harris, Ruthin's deputy mayor, said: "We're trying to appeal to people with the historical side of things, the art side of things, and everything else that will be going on here."

He said it would tie in with other attractions in the town, such as the castle and the old gaol.

Residents responded positively to the idea "once people understand what we're trying to do here, and how flexible the building will be", Mr Harris added.

Image caption Ruthin Town Council will be seeking grant aid and contributions to pay for renovations

Historian Gareth Evans said the return of the Old Courthouse to the hands of town authorities was suitable.

"One of the courts that met here was responsible for Ruthin borough," he said.

"So the suggestion that the town council will meet here again takes us full circle."

The plans will need to be approved by Denbighshire County Council as the planning authority, and Ruthin Town Council will be seeking grant aid and local contributions to fund the renovation.

Meanwhile, Denbighshire has confirmed that the town's library will remain in its 18th Century premises "for the foreseeable future".

Plans to relocate it were shelved in 2018 to avoid having another empty building in the town.

The county council is also seeking a use for empty offices next to Ruthin Gaol, which also houses the county archives.

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