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Archive for May 16th, 2011

The Wharf newspaper reports:

By Simon Hayes 

Tower Hamlets could be in line to become Britain’s newest city.

The borough has launched a bid to be granted city status as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year, when one local authority area will be granted the honour.

Tower Hamlets faces competition from the likes of Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Reading but Mayor Lutfur Rahman is convinced a successful bid would benefit one of the most deprived areas in the country.

He said: “I feel being a city would be a fantastic boost to the borough and really show what we have to offer.

“We are unique in that we have a thriving business and shopping district in Canary Wharf, an innovative arts scene, a first-rate university on our doorstep in Queen Mary, and a vibrant community spirit, which has embraced different groups of people throughout our history.

“The royal wedding celebrations which I attended were testament to the genuine community spirit that exists in the borough and there is a real appetite to build on this pride and let everyone know what an amazing place Tower Hamlets is. I hope residents will support our bid to become a city.”

The bid is supported by Canary Wharf Group, and has the backing of many other businesses in the borough.

Any local authority in any part of the United Kingdom which considers that its area deserves to be granted the rare honour of city status is eligible to apply.

The council will submit a bid document to the Government on May 27, with a decision expected early next year.

What the practical implications of such a status in terms of funding and governance would be, I don’t know. I think we should also be told how much preparing this application will cost and whether there will be penalties for vexatious bids.

Questions, questions…

UPDATE – 1.50pm

Of course, we should really note that Canary Wharf Group is backing this: it sees itself as a rival to the City of London and it would love City of Canary Wharf status. I’m sure they don’t mind making Lutfur look like a fool for that purpose.

By the way, I’ve just been told that Lutfur has a meeting at 1pm in the Town Hall to discuss the progress of his mayoralty….with one Baroness Uddin. As one councillor remarked, “It’s still not April 1″…

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