MERTHYR TYDFIL’S bid for city status is to be debated in Parliament next week. 

Merthyr and Rhymney MP Gerald Jones has secured a debate in the House of Commons where he will outline the advantages he believes city status would bring to the town which together with its surrounding county borough has a population of around 60,000. 

The Labour MP, who will put his town’s case forward in a debate on Wednesday, Septemebr 15, said: “Since launching the campaign just a few days ago, I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest shown in the proposal. 

“Residents and businesses are justly proud of Merthyr Tydfil and I hope that the campaign can harness that energy and show the very best of the town. 

“The debate in the House of Commons will give a further boost and allow me to show Ministers, other MPs and the whole country what a fantastic place Merthyr Tydfil is.” 

Merthyr Borough Council's cabinet is pushing the campaign for city status. The UK government is to grant city status next year to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

READ MORE: Wrexham councillors want Platinum Jubilee city status

The council claims becoming a city will boost the economic prospects of the town which is widely created as being at the forefront of the industrial revolution in the 18th century due to the local ironworks. 

Urban economic and social researcher Dr Jane Croad, who is coordinating the application, told councillors the many cultural resources and “exciting potential” of Merthyr would be central to the application. 

She claimed city status should be granted in recognition of Merthyr Tydfil’s contribution to the prosperity and safety of the UK and the world through ‘coal, steel and many lives’. 

It’s also hoped the city status will be able to take advantage of improved transport links with the city linked to both Swansea and England’s West Midlands via the ongoing project to improve the A465 Heads of the Valleys road. 

The council’s cabinet member for regeneration Geraint Thomas had urged local residents to support the bid and “seize this fantastic opportunity to build on Merthyr Tydfil’s success and plans for a bright future.  

“In the technology revolution, Merthyr Tydfil needs the status of city to achieve impetus to seize the opportunities of the new movement,” he claimed. 

There are 10 towns in England and Wales in competition for city status with Merthyr Tydfil and Wrexham the only two in Wales. 

Newport relinquished its status as the largest town in Wales to become a city in 2003. 

READ MORE: Strong Welsh showing among UK City of Culture 2025 bids

Merthyr council says there are 12 UK cities with a smaller population. St Asaph in Denbighshire was granted city in 2012, for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, though it’s population is just 3,355 while St David’s was officially granted city status in 1994 though there are just 1,408 people living there. 

Both those Welsh cities have cathedrals but Merthyr council has highlighted that “contrary to popular opinion, since 1889 there has been no requirement for a city to have a cathedral”. 

Merthyr’s mayor Cllr Malcolm Colbran said: “Winning this bid would fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the people of Merthyr Tydfil to be the city of the Heads of the Valleys. 

“It would give a massive boost to businesses and people - we all need to get behind the application and show solidarity in our purpose and our confidence in Merthyr Tydfil.” 

Plaid Cymru’s local group has however described the plan as a “vanity project”. 

A statement by the party’s constituency group said local politicians should have held a local consultation before starting the bidding process. 

The councils has said local residents will be asked “to give their views, knowledge and experience to help show how Merthyr Tydfil meets all these criteria” for city status. 

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