Elgin to bid for city status as part of Queen’s jubilee celebrations

Dumfries and Dunfermline have already confirmed bids to celebrate the monarch's 70-year reign.

Elgin to bid for city status as part of Queen’s jubilee celebrations iStock

Elgin will bid to become a city as part of the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

At a meeting of Moray Council’s corporate committee on Tuesday, members unanimously agreed to go-ahead with an application.

As part of the celebrations to mark the monarch’s 70-year reign local authorities across the country can apply for city status in a civic honours competition.

Dumfries and Dunfermline have already confirmed bids and any new city would join the ranks of Scotland’s seven – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling.

Council leader and SNP councillor for Elgin South Graham Leadbitter encouraged members to get behind the bid.

He said: “Elgin Community Council wrote to us saying they would like to see a bid put forward.

“This has all come together quite well with a number of discussions and I believe there’s broad support for this.

“While Elgin has the right to call itself a city because it was decreed a long time ago, it isn’t technically a modern city.

“If we can have that re-classed there will be opportunities for the whole of Moray, the north-east and Highlands.”

Mr Leadbitter added the six Elgin councillors had agreed to provide £2000 finding from the common good fund  for the bid, which is being backed by the community council and Elgin Business Improvement District.

Conservative councillor for Keith and Cullen Donald Gatt supported the application.

He said: “Some would say Elgin has never lost its city status but if we can cement that in modern terms it will be for the greater good.”

If successful, city status will bring financial benefit to the whole of Moray and end years of speculation on Elgin’s identity.

There has been confusion for generations over the town’s standing with many businesses as well as the local football club using city in their title, but it is not officially recognised as one. 

Previously bids were sought for the monarch’s golden jubilee in 2002 and diamond anniversary in 2012 which proved successful for Stirling and Perth respectively. Inverness became a city in a similar contest in 2000.

A successful bid will have to highlight the distinctive identity of Elgin including its culture, heritage, history, traditions, royal connections and any communities or residents who have made a significant contribution to the area. 

Up to 50 photographs of landmarks in what could become the city centre will be included along with a map showing parks, tourist attractions, leisure and entertainment venues as well as the main tourist routes. 

Information on population, sport centres and shopping areas will also form part of the  bid. 

Any local authority in the United Kingdom, a crown dependency or overseas territory can enter a city status application. 

There is also a parallel competition for existing UK cities to apply for a lord mayor or provost position. 

Applications need to be submitted to the Cabinet Office by 4pm on Wednesday, December 8.

Story by local democracy reporter Hazel Lawson.

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