Plans to host National Eisteddfod split council
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Denbighshire will put forward the county for the National Eisteddfod of Wales, potentially generating £22m for the local economy.
But councillors argued over whether the Welsh arts and poetry festival should be held in the north or south of the county when voting to register an expression of interest for hosting the event between 2025-2031.
Whilst the Eisteddfod attracts around 150,000 people every year, councillors debated whether the event should be held on the more Anglicised coast or further inland in the Welsh ‘heartlands’.
Some members believed the event could help promote the Welsh language on the coast whilst others said the Eisteddfod needed to be held in an already Welsh-speaking area.
Rhuddlan, though, is already an early frontrunner, following the town council asking councillors to consider prioritising the town for its bid.
Cllr Emrys Wynne is Denbighshire’s lead member for the Welsh language and presented the report.
“The Eisteddfod contributes to the economy of the areas it visits and leaves a legacy after leaving, and that is very, very important,” he said.
“The value of that in (terms of) the current figures means 150,000 visitors come to the area, and that is an income of around £22m to the local economy.
“So if we are willing to support this, we would put pressure on the Eisteddfod committee to hold the Eisteddfod in the north of Denbighshire., and I would like to see them responding to the invitation from Rhuddlan Town Council.”
But Cllr Gwyneth Ellis said she wanted to see the event hosted in the Welsh ‘heartlands’.
“I think it would be a very great benefit to the county wherever it is held,” she said.
“I would encourage that we don’t emphasise that it should go to the north of the county.
“The south of the county is going to get as much if not more benefit of having an Eisteddfod located there.
“That is where we have got our Welsh heartlands in the county, and we need something like an Eisteddfod down there to give a boost to the Welshness of the area.”
Deputy leader Cllr Gill German disagreed.
“Personally I would like to see the Eisteddfod in the north of the county because we need to grow the language there,” she said.
Cllr Ellie Chard agreed.
“I know when it was in Denbigh and further in the county, people in Rhyl, especially those with no cars and no interest (didn’t attend) – we hopefully would get more people from Prestatyn, Meliden, wherever, Dyserth, those who aren’t Welsh speakers. They’d be coming along just to see what it’s about.”
Leader Cllr Jason McLellan said: “Wherever it is in Denbighshire, I’d really welcome it.”
He added: “Without a doubt, it is a really positive economic impact.”
Cllr Gareth Sandilands agreed: “Wherever it is, it will have a huge impact.”
Cllr Gill German proposed cabinet members backed the expression, and this was seconded by Cllr Ellen Heaton, and the report was backed.
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