Scottish towns, one council area in running for city status

Scottish towns

They are competing with 21 towns from England, three from Northern Ireland, two from the Isle of Man and one from Wales

Seven Scottish towns and one council area are in the running to be awarded city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Dumfries, Dunfermline, Elgin, Greenock, Livingston, Oban, St Andrews and the whole region of South Ayrshire have been put forward.

They are competing with 21 towns from England, three from Northern Ireland, two from the Isle of Man and one from Wales.

George Town in the Cayman Islands, the ­Falklands capital, Stanley, and the territory of Gibraltar have also been nominated.

The winning candidates will be announced this month by the UK Government, with one of them expected to be north of the Border.

St Andrews and Dunfermline appear to be the favourites in Scotland and bookmakers McBookie have the Fife towns priced at 2-1 and 5-2 ­respectively.

The last Scottish towns to achieve city status were Perth in 2012 and Stirling in 2002, both to mark Jubilee years.

Inverness joined the ­original four of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to mark the new millennium.

Historian Patricia Dennison, author of The Evolution of Scotland’s Towns, said: I would like to think that city status would be awarded to the town with the deepest roots in Scotland’s national story. In which case, it would be between Dunfermline and St Andrews.

However, I would probably lean – just – towards Dunfermline because it is now the more substantial town in terms of population and its economy. It carries slightly greater weight with its royal connections too. Kings were born and are buried there, Dennison said. Before Edinburgh was the capital, it was one of the places where the monarch would reside.

However, in its favour, St Andrews is named after the patron saint of Scotland, which is a simple but potentially important factor, Dennison said.

John Carnie, a lecturer in planning and urban studies at Glasgow University, said: The judges will be looking for a place with a sense of history and cultural identity, and all the candidates have that. But they will also want to be satisfied that a winning town has the feel of a city so the larger it is, the more beneficial.

City status will provide a boost to tourism but also a competitive economic edge, he said.

He said: It is a magnet for investment from both the public and private sector, which is essential if urban centres are to be revitalised after the pandemic.

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