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Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK

Special Report

South Wales help for city bid

Cardiff has come to the aid of its north Wales rivals

A bid for city status by north Wales's largest town, Wrexham, has received support from an unexpected source - the Welsh capital Cardiff.

Members of Cardiff council's Cabinet are backing the bid by Wrexham, their traditional rivals in north-south soccer clashes.

Cardiff Lord Mayor Russell Goodway said that if Wrexham's bid was successful it would create economic, cultural and social opportunities for north Wales.

The Queen is due to award city status to at least one town in order to mark the Millennium and her golden jubilee.

Wrexham launched its campaign in February, and is basing its claim on the fact that it is the largest town in north Wales. However, the town faces competition from its neighbour St Asaph and Newport in south Wales.

[ image: The Archbishop of Wales: Backing Wrexham]
The Archbishop of Wales: Backing Wrexham
Wrexham's bid to achieve city status recently also received help from the highest reaches of the Church in Wales.

The recently-retired Bishop of St Asaph and Archbishop of Wales, the Most Reverend Alwyn Rice Jones, has pledged his support to Wrexham Council's bid for city status.

He said that receiving city status was an honour, and that he hoped the Queen's advisers would closely examine Wrexham's case which was "outstanding within the UK."

City in all but name

Newport has been unsuccessful in the past, but this time it is more optimistic.

It is the fastest-growing town in Wales and the third fastest in the UK.

The town's backers say Newport is a city in all but name - it already has a cathedral as well as a university and it is the only major UK port not designated a city.

Support for project

St Asaph has yet to make a formal declaration for city status.

Denbighshire councillors have thrown their weight behind the small town's project.

However, despite popular belief that St Asaph is a city, there are no charter or "letters patent" to back its claim.

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