6:00am Thursday 14th January 2010
By Kirsty Whalley
Croydon hopes it will be third time lucky as it prepares to apply for city status before the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced the Government’s plans to mark 60 years of the Queen accession, on January 5.
He said: “We will be holding national competitions later this year for city status.”
Competitions for city status are usually held to mark important royal anniversaries.
Only the Queen can grant city status and the process is governed by the Ministry of Justice. It is purely honorific and grants no additional powers to the successful towns.
London Mayor Boris Johnson publicly backed Croydon as “the third city of London” when he visited in 2008.
Croydon Council Leader Mike Fisher said: “It is almost certain we will consider putting in a bid for city status.
“This gives us a distinct identity as a borough and will allow us to mark ourselves as separate to greater London.”
The late mayor of Croydon, Jonathan Driver, was outspoken in his support for city status saying: “We have all the things cities should have, such as a first-class international train station, the Fairfield Halls centre of entertainment, a parish church where six Archbishops of Canterbury were buried and our business district is the fourth biggest in the country.”
Tony Newman, leader of the Labour group said: “It will be a number one commitment for us to put Croydon at the top of any list for city status. It is not just the prestige it is the jobs and the investment that come to Croydon with city status.”
The last competition coincided with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. Croydon lost to Preston, Newport and Stirling.
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