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Council to vote on Dumfries city bid

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By Donald Turvill
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Council to vote on Dumfries city bid

COUNCILLORS are set to decide if Dumfries should be put forward for a city bid.

At a full meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council next week, members will vote on whether to push ahead with the controversial plans – which the local authority says have been met with a “mixed” response so far.

And if given the go-ahead, a City Status Group will be set-up by the Council to work on the application ahead of the December 8 deadline.

The competition, being held as part of the Queen’s 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebrations, is inviting towns across the UK to apply.

It follows Civic Honour competitions for millenium celebrations in 2000, the Golden Jubilee in 2002 – of which Dumfries was an applicant – and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

As part of an initial consultation process, the council has received feedback on the proposals from “a range of local partners, across Lord Lieutenants, public, private and third sector partners, young people, MPs and MSPs”.

The council also confirmed that comments made on social media regarding the bid were taken into account.

It said that overall, the feedback was “mixed”, however added that the majority of responses were “positive about submitting an entry for the regional capital of Dumfries”.

Listing the potential opportunities, the council said it would have “a benefit for the whole of Dumfries and Galloway as we have a coherent network of places across the region”.

It added: “Being part of the competition will, in itself, offer us an opportunity to raise awareness of our region and demonstrate that we have vision and ambition.

“We have an opportunity to present a different kind of city for a different kind of world – a smaller, community-focused, environmentally sustainable, location.”

Furthermore, the council pointed out that Dumfries has “a lot” to showcase across the various sections of the application form, such as cultural infrastructure, interesting heritage, history and traditions, vibrant and welcoming community and a record of innovation.

And it highlighted that the “awareness and perceptions” of Scotland’s previous Civic Honours winners, Inverness, Stirling and Perth, are positive, adding: “That in itself shows there’s a benefit to being a city.”

The council also relayed concerns raised in consultation that Dumfries “cannot compete with the size and facilities in the recognised cities”, and that it should be ensured the change of status would benefit the whole region.

Furthermore, respondents were concerned the move could divert resources from the recovery from the pandemic.

Once all applications are made in December, the Queen is expected to issue her decision on which towns will be granted city status next year.

She will send “brief comments” to each local authority which puts itself forward as results are announced.

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