What would becoming a city mean for Crawley?

Crawley Borough Council is exploring the possibility of applying for city status on the 75th anniversary of becoming a new town.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 5:44 pm
Queens Square reopening back in 2017 (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Councillors will discuss whether to enter the Civic Honours competition, which is part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, at a meeting on Wednesday October 20.

The Civic Honours competition, which is free to enter, will bestow city status on towns in the UK. It aims to provide towns with the chance to:

• Showcase civic pride, interesting heritage and a record of innovation

• Put the town on the map

• Bring greater prosperity of opportunity.

A Crawley bid would be based around the central message of ‘75 years ago, you made Crawley a New Town. In that time, we have grown to become a regional powerhouse. Imagine what we can achieve if you made us a New City’.

The report to councillors highlights the benefits of entering the competition, even if a bid is unsuccessful. It provides an opportunity to:

• Celebrate and promote the town’s strengths, including our economic power, Gatwick Airport being in the borough, our sense of community and exciting, long-term regeneration programme

• Rebuild optimism and pride after suffering the worst economic impacts of the pandemic

• Have a wider discussion about what Crawley can become.

The report adds: “A bid for city status would certainly raise Crawley’s profile, enhancing its reputation and ensuring it is a place that is recognised, helping to put Crawley on the map.

“Given the significant economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our town which is well documented and evidenced; securing City Status will bring with it prestige, standing and an opportunity to lever investment to aid our recovery.

“Studies suggest that a successful bid for city status could bring further investment and employment opportunities.”

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “If councillors agree to enter the competition, Crawley could become the first New Town ever to be granted city status – in the same year that we celebrate our diamond anniversary.

“Bidding is free and a simple process so there is everything to gain and nothing to lose; if we do bid it gives us the chance to shout loudly about our strengths and achievements on a national scale while rebuilding optimism and pride locally.”

If it is decided to enter, a consultation asking for the views of residents, businesses and stakeholders will begin on Thursday October 21 and run for four weeks.

The closing dates for bids to be submitted is December 8. The government will announce the winners of the competition in early 2022.