It's thumbs up for city status bid for Wrexham

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

WREXHAM Council will make a bid for city status.

Councillors voted to press ahead with the bid despite public opposition two to one against it in a survey conducted last month.

Some councillors during an executive meeting at the Guildhall yesterday blasted the board for asking for public opinion and then not following it.

At an executive board in January members asked for a public consultation by way of an internet survey.

During the survey in February 503 people voted in support of the bid for city status and 977 voted against.

Cllr Mark Pritchard, lead member for Housing and Planning, abstained from the vote and said: “Overall I think city status would be good for Wrexham but what is the point of going out to poll and then going against the wishes?

“It’s a criticism of us as politician. We have got to go and communicate with the general public or you end up with this, which is a disaster.”

Deputy council leader Bob Dutton, who supported the bid, said he accepted Cllr Pritchard’s criticism.

“We should have put more effort into defining the reasons why we wanted to go for city status,” he said.

“The number of people who actually voted is very small indeed.”

Earlier he said: “I honestly think we should show some leadership as a council.
“I think city status would be a good thing for Wrexham.”

But the turnout for the online poll, which only represented about one per cent of the Wrexham population, was criticised by other councillors.

Cllr Alun Jenkins, lead member for Finance and Asset Management, said: “I’m very disappointed by the outcome of the consultation.

“So few people responded and I don’t think it represented the feeling in terms of the total population.

“It would be such publicity for the council to say we’re a city and it would make us stronger with the Welsh Assembly Government and European links.”

Cllr Joan Lowe, lead member for Social Care and Health, said: “We have gone a long, long way in 14 or 15 years and we would be really letting people down if we didn’t see Wrexham as one day being at the top.”

Cllr Rodney Skelland, lead member for Regeneration and Corporate Governance, said: “It’s about promoting Wrexham. It’s about improving the profile of Wrexham, it’s about improving the image from an industrial perspective.

“I fully understand Mark’s argument but it only represented one per cent of the population – 99 per cent of the people haven’t responded or perhaps did not even know about it.”

Cllr Arfon Jones and Cllr Dave Bithell voted against making the bid and the remaining councillors, except for Cllr Pritchard who abstained, voted in support of the bid.

Wrexham must now submit a bid for city status, and compete against others across the UK, by May 27.

Only one new city is expected to be chosen in any part of the UK as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Councillors said costs for pre-paring the bid would be £20,000.

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read