NOT A PRIORITY: No city status bid
St Helens town hall, Image: Google Maps
St Helens will not be applying for city status this year after the council leader confirmed it is currently ‘not a priority’ for the town.
The Queen has agreed for a competition to be held to grant the prestigious and rare civic honours of city status and Lord Mayor or Lord Provost status to a select number of worthy towns and cities in the UK.
This will be the first time in 10 years that Her Majesty awards civic honours and the occasion comes as part of celebrations to mark The Queen’s platinum jubilee.
The Government says – as part of its commitment to levelling up and increasing opportunity across the UK – local authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can enter the competition and make a case for why their area deserves to be granted one of the honours.
But Labour-run St Helens Borough Council is not planning to be among the names bidding for city status before the competition closes on December 8.
Leader Cllr David Baines said: “As residents will rightly expect, our time and energy right now is focused on continuing to provide essential services and supporting residents, businesses and the local economy recover from the pandemic.
“We are also working hard to deliver on the priorities in our borough strategy, including making sure every child gets the best start in life, integrating health and social care locally, and delivering much-anticipated major transformation of our town centres.
“City status is not a priority right now but we wish all those applying the best of luck.”
For the first time, the city status competition will also be open to applications from the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
In addition to the competition for local authorities to apply for towns to be awarded city status, existing cities in the UK can enter the parallel competition for a Lord Mayoralty, or Lord Provostship as it is known in Scotland.
All valid entries will receive individual consideration on their merits, before recommendations will be made by ministers to The Queen.
The number of awards made across the UK, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies will depend on the strength of the applications received.
Words: Aran Dhillon, Local Democracy Reporter
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