St Asaph gears up to mark five years of status as a city

Published date: 19 March 2017 |
Published by: Josh Morris 
Read more articles by Josh Morris  Email reporter

This week marks five years since it was announced that St Asaph had beaten Bolton, Stockport and Wrexham and dozens more to become a Diamond Jubilee city.

The City Council is already gearing up to mark the official date the city received the honour in June with four days of celebrations planned.

St Asaph became the UK's second smallest city, just ahead of St David's in Pembrokeshire. As county councillor Bill Cowie recalls it wasn't the first attempt the town with a population of 3,500 made to become a city.

Just £300 was spent on St Asaph’s bid to become a city compared with Wrexham’s £20,000, which culminated on the royal announcement on March 13 back in 2012.

“As far as I'm concerned it's been a good thing. We struggled very, very hard to get City status over a number of years.

“I was the Chair of the County Council at the time so my name went on the application, I was involved from day one with the town council at the time.

“We'd had two applications turned down before we were successful and it's only right we should remind people that St Asaph is a city and one of the best ways to do that is the celebrations the City Council is organising for June.

“It'll promote the city which is good and hopefully increase footfall which would also be a good thing, and when they finish with building the flood prevention measures we'll have achieved something important to the city.

“It was a struggle, but it's been worth it in the end.”

The Dean of St Asaph Cathedral, the Very Reverend Nigel Williams said "Being granted City Status by Her Majesty the Queen was a great boost to the people of St Asaph.

“There is a determination here to welcome visitors to the city from far and wide, and there is an enormous amount of community activity for a small population making St Asaph a great place to live.”

The celebrations will include a hog roast, firework displays, sporting events and a huge flower festival in the cathedral.

The city's mayor Colin Hardie has been one of those driving the celebrations forward.

“It might seem a bit crazy as some wait until 10 years for celebrations but it was such a momentous year, as of course later that year we had the floods, he said.

“We're happy we've survived five years without any further catastrophes but we're hoping these celebrations will be a big success both for the people in the town and those outside.

“We hoped it would've meant an awful lot of difference to commerce but it as yet hasn't had a huge effect on the way things operate, we're only a small community.

“It hasn't helped in that respect except it has put St Asaph on the map and more will be attracted in future.

"We're getting major development schemes in the city like the big housing development, so eventually it will have that knock-on effect of more money coming in.

“We do have the business park but we want to bring more people into the city itself, so we hope the name of the city of St Asaph will get around and more will come and live here.”

County Councillor Dewi Owens is one of those who had hoped the status of being a City would do more for development.

Cllr Owens said: “I was hoping it would mean more than it has done so far, but it's something we've got to build on in the future.

“We're celebrating these five years in June properly, and hopefully that will publicise the city more.

“Even though we have this city status we get no more money and I am pressing the county to say that as we're the only city in Denbighshire we should be getting more of a priority on funding, especially for tourism.”

  • See full story in the Free Press

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