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Dumfries’ city bid gathers support

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Dumfries’ city bid gathers support

INTERESTED parties came together this week to further discuss city bid hopes for Dumfries.

On Wednesday, South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper co-chaired a meeting with Mark Jardine, of the Dumfries People’s Project, to discuss the potential for the town.

They were joined by representatives from the police, college, council, chamber of commerce, community councillors, the NHS and charities.

And Lord Lieutenant Fiona Armstrong gave an insight into the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee plans, which include the city contest.

Ms Harper outlined the process of application and provided examples of how Dumfries meets the current criteria and more.

Mark Jardine explained why he is supporting the bid, and was backed by participants, who were all in favour of exploring the potential further.

Ms Harper said: “Ultimately, the application for city status must be submitted by the local authority for it to be considered by the Queen, but the community can feed in and help to provide input for the application.

“I welcome the positive approach from the local authority so far, and the council are currently in the process of contacting community groups and individuals across Dumfries, and the wider region, to seek agreement on the best way to proceed with an application.”

The MSP is keen to ensure views are gathered from across Dumfries and Galloway and that an application is submitted by the December deadline.

She added: “Dumfries, and our surrounding areas, has a rich culture, history and civic pride.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Dumfries to be the First City in Scotland when people head north. Through our connections to Robert Burns, J.M Barrie, Moat Brae and Peter Pan and Robert the Bruce, the Theatre Royal, the Crichton Estate and Calvin Harris, our fantastic community events like the Big Burns Supper and Guid Neighbours, as well as our universities and college, we meet the required criteria for city status and more.

“We also have abundant green spaces in Dock Park, Heathhall Forest, King George V Park and the Crichton Gardens, to name a few. We are surrounded by forestry, cycling and active travel infrastructure and these fantastic historical, cultural and environmental assets deserve the recognition and benefits that city status can bring.

“I now look forward to the local authority reporting back on their engagement with groups and individuals across the whole region and I will continue to help take this application bid forward in any way I can.

“We have nothing to lose through applying, and we have seen from other Scottish cities – like Inverness, Perth and Stirling – how they have gone from strength to strength socially and economically since receiving city status. I would like to see Dumfries, and the wider region, benefit similarly using any means to help in regeneration and our recovery for Covid-19.”

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