Wrexham a city? No thanks!

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WELL over half the people who took part in a Leader poll on gaining city status for Wrexham said they do not want it.

The town lost out to Newport last time but influential people say Wrexham should have another go in 2012 when one new city will be created to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

People taking part in a Leader poll have voted resoundingly against Wrexham making a bid for city status.

These were the results for the question 'Should Wrexham bid for city status?'

YES: 33.52% (178 votes)
NO: 66.48% (353 votes)
Total votes: 531

Yet a number of influential people still say the town should stake a claim to boost its profile at home and abroad and give a huge boost to the local economy.

At least one new city will be created from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012.

Although Wrexham is tipped as a prime contender for the honour this time round after losing out in previous contests, there is a deep divide of opinion on what advantages it would have for the area.

And our big online test of opinion confirms that most people who took part believe it is not a good idea.

The poll simply asked readers if Wrexham should bid for city status.

More than 500 people cast their votes and almost exactly two-thirds said ‘no’ to a bid being made.

Guildhall officials are currently preparing a report on a possible bid, which is due to be considered by councillors in the new year.

The deadline for making a bid is next June.

The debate over city status has also been raging in the comments section of our website.

A Cahill said: “Not in its present state ... a lot more needs to be done to bring it up to city standard, such as taking a step back to consolidate and taking a look at the good things in Wrexham and getting rid of the bad.

“People and services are more important than something that may or may not boost the economic outlook for the area ... more open and honest information is needed to facilitate an informed choice for residents.”

‘Born in the Wrong Decade’ says: “The town just is not deserving of being a city.

“It’s run down, there are streets in the town inner that a frankly pitiful and Third World-like.

“The roads are a joke the planning is beyond comment.

“Eagles Meadow? Seriously, it could have been awesome and turned out an eyesore.”

‘InMyOpinion’ says: “It would be a complete waste of money, a bad investment. The town congestion is just as bad now as it was two years ago.”

Wrexham has failed a couple of times in achieving city status in recent times, but the area seeking to enhance its status is hardly new.

Local historian Alistair Williams, who has just published the revised edition of the Wrexham Encyclopedia, said: “During the 16th century there was a move to make Wrexham a cathedral city.

“One of the bishops wanted to move the diocese from St Asaph to Wrexham but because of the Reformation nothing happened.”

Wrexham might not be the only Welsh town seeking city status in 2012 as Llanelli and Abertystwyth may also put in bids.

In Llanelli, it is already a hot topic in the local newspaper, the Llanelli Star, which is itself backing any bid.

It reported recently how former town mayor John Jenkins had floated the idea to see if there is much support for such a campaign - and how early signs were promising.

He says: "It might have started off a bit tongue-in-cheek, but when you look at it, Llanelli's claims are certainly much stronger than other towns that have campaigned and are campaigning seriously to be made a city.

"Currently the leading contender in Wales is Wrexham which has a population of just over 42,000.

“Llanelli, as Wales's seventh largest urban settlement, has almost 5,000 more citizens.

“Of the six larger settlements, three are already cities and two are valley settlements.

He adds: "Surely Llanelli can make a much bigger claim for city status than Wrexham, St Asaph, Aberystwyth or Macynlleth?"

But Norman Williams, a reporter in the Aberystwyth office of the Cambrian News, said: “I’ve not heard anything about us going for city status.

“Certainly, there’s been no discussion about it in the local town council.

“We have gone for city status before and been unsuccessful.”

See full story in the Leader

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