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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Newtown's identity crisis
Newtown is an historic market town
Newtown-upon-Severn, Newtown-on-Severn or plain old Newtown - locals of the oldest Newtown in Britain have been asked to decide whether it needs a name change.

Some people believe the mid Wales town has an identity crisis and needs a fresh name to distinguish it from the 120 other Newtowns across the UK.

However, others believe the 13th Century town should be proud of its heritage and as the original Newtown it should retain its name.

The town council have appealed for help to highlight the issue so they can gauge public opinions on the proposal before debating the issue next month.

It has got to be something that the people of the town decide not the partnership or the town council
Shirley Owen

Alternatives put forward include Newtown-upon-Severn or Newtown-on-Severn.

Owners of a fish and chip shop in the town centre are passionate about the town's name.

A notice has been placed in Crescent fish shop window invited customers and passers by to support a campaign to keep the name.

"Most local people don't want it, what's the point in spending a load of money on changing the name," shop owner Iona Muscroft.

"We're Y-Drenewydd - that is what we were taught in school and that is what we are, we're in Wales not England."

Some other Newtowns
Newtown, Somerset
Newtown Cumbria
Newtown, Cornwall
Newtown, Isle of Wight

"We were here first, if they want to change the name they should change the others."

The desire for a name change was cited four years ago in a report commissioned by the Newtown Partnership, a group set up to promote the town.

The survey entitled On Trac examined ways of enhancing the town.

Shirley Owen project development officer of the Newtown Partnership said: "A number of things were looked at including changing the town's name.

"In terms of placing the town it would be a good thing.

"But when you hear upon Seven or on Seven people associate it with English towns rather than Welsh.

"It has got to be something that the people of the town decide not the partnership or the town council."

Newtown in Powys was established in 1279 when a charter was granted to hold a weekly market.

The town grew around the market and became a major industrial site supported mainly by the manufacture of textiles.

It is now the largest town in Powys with over 11,000 residents.

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