Tiny Welsh town (pop 3500) granted city status- and it cost them just £300

Adam Parris-Long

The remote town of St Asaph in North Wales has been given city status- even though it has a population of less than 3500 people.

The surprise announcement puts the Denbighshire town ahead of the likes of Reading which also applied for the honour - a town which has more than 65 times the amount of residents.

It is the third time St Asaph, which has a cathedral dating back 1,400 years, has put in a bid following applications in 2000 and in 2002.

St Asaph was given the honour by the Queen along with Chelmsford, Essex, and Perth, Scotland. And while fellow competitors spent thousands of pounds on their city bids, St Asaph set aside just £300.  

“In many ways we felt like we were in a David vs Goliath battle,” St Asaph Mayor Andrew Thomas told Yahoo! News. “We are over the moon with the decision but mostly it is nice to see that we have been recognised in the local area."

“Although it is fairly small, St Asaph has a cluster of businesses at the forefront of optical technology and an international music festival. In total we also have around 800,000 visitors a year and this packs a huge punch.”

[Related story: Doncaster is part of Scotland]

St Asaph’s city bid was seen to be a long shot, with bookies William Hill listing it as 33-1 rank outsiders.

“We knew we weren’t fancied but historically up until the 1960s and 1970s we always thought we were a city - it was even taught in schools,” said Mayor Thomas.

“We have typically always been known as a city due to our cathedral but it was never put in writing. While we are proud of the achievement we want to add sincere commiserations to the towns that lost out”. 

And the towns who missed out on the Diamond Jubilee city bid were:

Bolton, Bournemouth, Colchester, Coleraine, Corby, Craigavon, Croydon, Doncaster, Dorchester, Dudley, Dumfries, Gateshead, Goole, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Reading, Southend, St Austell, Stockport, Tower Hamlets and Wrexham.