This is why towns want to become cities, as 39 places apply for city status next year

By Matt Brooks
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 12:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 12:09 pm

No fewer than 39 places have applied for city status in 2022.

The applicants, which include British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies for the first time, could be granted the status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Entries include Stanley in the Falkland Islands - almost 8,000 miles away - and Gibraltar (pictured) as well as places in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Here’s all you need to know about why towns and other places want to become cities, the criteria they have to meet and the 39 locations to have applied for city status in 2022…

Why do towns want to become cities?

Having city status can provide a boost to communities and open up new opportunities for the people who live there, according to the Cabinet Office.

Previous towns to achieve city status have pointed towards ‘putting X on the map’, being seen as part of an ‘elite club’ and the benefits it will provide to the economy.

International recognition is another factor, which again may provide advantages to businesses and the economy, as well as local pride and a subsequent buzz about the area.

In terms of tax breaks, privileges and any other official perks, there are none, merely status - but it’s what that status means to the community and how the area can make the most of it.

How does a town become a city?

Many people could be forgiven for thinking that a city is a large urban place, with many people living there and of course the obligatory old cathedral.

But the cathedral requirement is no longer a necessity, and hasn’t been since the 19th Century, and many places across the UK are classed a ‘city’ with small populations.

The Welsh city of St Davids, in Pembrokeshire, has a population of around 1,600.

So what does it take to become a city?

The say so from the monarch, usually based on ministerial recommendations.

The entrants for City Status in 2022 were asked to talk about the local community and distinct identity which they feel means their area is deserving of city status.

Any links to royalty are also included in the panel’s thinking, which will work with ministers to make recommendations to the Queen.

A final decision will be taken in early 2022 and announced shortly afterwards.

Who has applied for City Status 2022?

These are the 39 places which have applied for city status:

  • Alcester, Warwickshire

  • Ballymena, County Antrim

  • Bangor, County Down

  • Blackburn, Lancashire

  • Bolsover, Derbyshire

  • Boston, Lincolnshire

  • Bournemouth, Dorset

  • Coleraine, County Londonderry

  • Colchester, Essex

  • Crawley, West Sussex

  • Crewe, Cheshire

  • Doncaster, South Yorkshire

  • Dorchester, Dorset

  • Douglas, Isle of Man

  • Dudley, West Midlands

  • Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway

  • Dunfermline, Fife

  • Elgin, Moray

  • George Town, Cayman Islands

  • Gibraltar, Gibraltar

  • Goole, East Yorkshire

  • Greenock, Renfrewshire

  • Guildford, Surrey

  • Livingston, West Lothian

  • Marazion, Cornwall

  • Medway, Kent

  • Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

  • Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

  • Newport and Carisbrooke, Hampshire

  • Northampton, Northamptonshire

  • Oban, Argyll and Bute

  • Reading, Berkshire

  • Peel, Isle of Man

  • St Andrews, Fife

  • Stanley, Falkland Islands

  • South Ayrshire, Ayrshire and Arran

  • Warrington, Cheshire

  • Warwick, Warwickshire

  • Wrexham, Clwyd

Which cities have applied for Lord Provost / Lord Mayor status?

A further 12 cities have applied for Lord Provost / Lord Mayor status, which would allow them to have a ceremonial representative traditionally chosen by councillors.

  • Bath, Somerset

  • Derby, Derbyshire

  • Gloucester, Gloucestershire

  • Inverness, Inverness

  • Lancaster, Lancashire

  • Lincoln, Lincolnshire

  • Newport, Gwent

  • Perth, Perth and Kinross

  • Southampton, Hampshire

  • Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

  • Wolverhampton, West Midlands

  • Worcester, Worcestershire