WALES has a seventh city as Wrexham has been formally awarded the status.

The UK Government has announced its list of eight places that will be made cities to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with Wrexham among those given the nod. 

The others are Bangor in Northern Ireland, Colchester, Doncaster, Dunfermline in Scotland, Milton Keynes and Douglas on the Isle of Man and Stanley on the Falkland Islands.

The news has been welcomed by the borough council, which had submitted the bid, though its response has been muted as the authority currently doesn't have a formal political leadership with no group having won overall control at the election.

It is the fourth time Wrexham, which until today's announcement had been the largest town, by population in Wales, with 61,603 citizens, has bid for the status.

A statement from the council said: "The UK Government has announced that Wrexham has been successful in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee City Status competition.

"This means that Wrexham will become Wales’ newest city.

"Wrexham Council welcomes the announcement and will make a formal statement on how it will maximise the benefits of this accolade after a new political administration is formed on Wednesday, May 25."

The Wrexham Business Professionals groups has backed the bid - describing it as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

The city status competition is completely separate to the City of Culture 2025 competition in which Wrexham is one of four locations short-listed for the title and right to hold a series of cultural events. A decision, from the UK Government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport, on the winner of that competition is expected in the near future.

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, said: “Wrexham has a wonderful history and an exciting future and I am absolutely delighted to see it awarded city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

“There is already much for Wrexham to be proud of and I hope city status will bring further recognition for everything the community has to offer and brings further opportunities for Wrexham’s prosperity and growth.”  

Before the council formally submitted the city status bid, in December, some 100 people had attended a protest against the bid.

That rally, organised by Plaid Cymru politicians, took place after a survey found 61 per cent (258) of people who responded to the council's consultation on the plan, felt "not at all did Wrexham deserve to be a city".

Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper said people hadn't wanted the status in 2012 and accused the council, in December, of failing to ask people for their outright support or opposition for the bid.

She said: "Merthyr Tydfil had the good grace to ask people a straight question and subsequently they pulled out because people didn't support it."

The bid by the Independent/Conservative coalition, which is expected to resume executive control of the council, was also supported by the Labour group.

Merthyr had been the only other Welsh town expected to run for the status this time but pulled out due to a lack of public support.

Wrexham was pipped to the post by St Asaph, despite the Denbighshire town's much smaller population, in 2012.

Newport, which has a population of 133,353, had been Wales' largest town before it was given city status in 2002. That honour has, with Wrexham becoming a city, passed to Barry, in the Vale of Glamorgan, which has 56,892 inhabitants.

Wales' biggest city is Cardiff with 350,558 people calling the capital home whilere there are 184,436 residents in Swansea.

The country's other three cities have far fewer residents but the population of Wales' oldest city, Bangor, at 18,476 still dwarfs local rival St Asaph which has just 3,500 residents though that is a booming metropolis compared to St David's which with just 1,840 souls is also the smallest city in the UK.

A town becomes a city only by the award of a royal charter – not, as is sometimes thought, because it has a cathedral.

Brecon, in Powys, has a cathedral but is not a city, while Brighton & Hove in East Sussex is a city but does not have a cathedral.

This year has already seen one town granted city status: Southend-on-Sea, which became a city on March 1 as a tribute to the late Sir David Amess MP, who campaigned for the change throughout his career.

London is not officially a city, but within the boundary of the Greater London area are two cities: the City of London (the third smallest city in mainland UK by population size) and the City of Westminster.

Birmingham is officially the UK’s largest city, with a population at the 2011 census of 1.1 million.

The Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition required applicants to demonstrate how their unique communities and distinct local identity meant they deserved to be awarded city status. They were also required to highlight their royal associations and cultural heritage.  

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay, said: “I am delighted that a record number of locations have been awarded the prestigious city status as part of Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. 

"What was clear to me during the process of assessing each application was the pride that people felt for their communities, local cultural heritage and the Royal Family. 

“As we celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s colossal contribution to society, I am thrilled that we are able to recognise some of the many places that make Britain great."

Supporters claim city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there.

Previous winners Perth and Preston report residents have described how their success contributed to increased national and global standing, putting them on the international map as a place to do business.

The UK Cabinet Office says that Perth, which was granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, has seen its local economy expand by 12 per cent in the decade it was granted city status.

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The announcement of the civic honours brings the number of official cities in the mainland UK to 76, with 55 in England, eight in Scotland, six in Northern Ireland and the seven in Wales

In addition there will now be the first city in a British Crown Dependency, Douglas on the Isle of Man, and in a British Overseas Territory, Stanley on the Falkland Islands.

Of the six new cities across the UK mainland, the largest is Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, which had a population at the 2011 census of 171,750.

The next largest is Colchester in Essex, England (population: 119,441), followed by Doncaster in South Yorkshire, England (109,805); Wrexham in Wales (61,603); Bangor in Northern Ireland (61,011); and Dunfermline in Fife, east Scotland (49,706).

Outside mainland UK, Douglas on the Isle of Man recorded a resident population of 26,677 in its 2021 census.

Stanley on the Falkland Islands had a resident population of 2,458 in 2016, according to its most recent census.

‘Letters Patent’ will now be prepared which will confer each of the awards formally and will be presented to winners later in the year. 

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