A SENIOR councillor has insisted a fourth bid to achieve city status is not on the cards for Wrexham in the near future.

The comments came despite Wrexham Council seeking to join a representative group for mid-sized cities across the UK.

The Key Cities Group was established in 2013 and consists of 21 urban areas across Wales and England, including Swansea, Newport, Salford and Preston.

Wrexham has been knocked back on three separate occasions under efforts to change its status from a town to a city.

It was most recently pipped at the post by St Asaph in 2012 after the council was accused of going against the will of residents to launch a bid.

Deputy leader David A Bithell said the purpose of it joining the group was not to alter its status, but to drive forward the area’s economy by working with other authorities.

Speaking at a media briefing held earlier this week, the independent councillor said: “Truthfully, we’re not signing up to this become a city, we’re signing up to benefit Wrexham.

“It wouldn’t really matter in the report whether it was 21 towns or 21 villages.

“The reality is you’ve got to be in it to win it and if you’re not in it you don’t win the prizes, which are economic growth across the region.

“It’s about what benefits Wrexham and what benefits the people of Wrexham as well and having good transport links also plays its part in developing the economy going forward.”

Members of the council’s ruling executive board are being asked to approve Wrexham becoming a member of the Key Cities Group when they meet next week.

A report shows it will come at a cost of £10,000 per year to the local authority.

The council said it would strengthen the area’s voice at a UK level and also help to identify opportunities to work with the UK Government.

Welsh Economy Secretary Ken Skates said in 2018 that city status for Wrexham was “inevitable” and could help transform its economy.

Although Cllr Bithell said he was personally opposed to the idea, he indicated the possibility could not be ruled out in the long term.

He added: “I’m not bothered what they call Wrexham because as far as I’m concerned it will always be a town.

“Sometimes you do have to change with the times and who knows what happens in years to come, but we’ve never considered city status again since the last time.”

The proposals will be discussed at an executive board meeting on Tuesday (December 8, 2020).