Case Study of Rural Rebranding of Blaenau Ffestiniog

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Case Study of Rural Rebranding of Blaenau Ffestiniog

The town is very small and is surrounded by mountains. So it is in a mountainous area, with lots of slate; it is also in a valley and overlooks one too. Its current population is 5000, including Llan Ffestiniog (Although the population reached a peak of 12,000 during the height of the slate industry).

The need to rebrand

Blaenau Ffestiniog needed to be rebranded for many reasons. One reason is that when the slate mining industry has decreased dramatically since World War 1. Worker numbers have considerably shrunk, from into the 1000’s, now into the 100’s. It is now a material that is used less. They also don’t have a ‘big’ chain store, such as Tesco or Morrison’s; they only have a McColl’s and a Euro Spar.

Blaenau Ffestiniog has recognised their weaknesses and threats from their SWOT analysis taken.

Here is a list of weaknesses and threats from the town’s SWOT analysis. As you can see, there is a large list of weaknesses and also a list of threats, even though this list is smaller, each point is huge for the town. All of these weaknesses add up and follow on from each other, like a multiplying effect, such as the lack of specific shops and a fairly limited environment mean that the population is declining. Both of the lists may get bigger, especially from other towns, competing for sales and people.

A rebranding scheme

a) One of the physical changes proposed was the Diffwys Square/Train Station Area. Here, they were meant to create a wide flight of steps connecting the town centre to the station area and removing part of the wall, which was blocking visibility. In the square; they were meant to bring the axis to life and reveal the history of site. Also they were meant to add street furniture, a car parking layout and pedestrian routes. Also there would be tall columns of slate and a substantial sculpture incorporating water in the upper area of the car park. Also there would be a performance area, market space and a small events area.

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Another physical change proposed was on Church Street. Here they were meant to use empty shops for a potential arts, crafts and niche visitor retail offer, relating to Market Hall cultural centre, the proposed bunk house in the Church Hall. It is narrow, so to create a series of small-scale artworks and street furniture that act like stepping stones, drawing the pedestrian along the street in each direction (including bands of poetry on slate for paving and seating). Boundary walls to create feel of generous space.

b) These design decisions were made through their process of visioning. Whilst the town ...

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