Essex

Chelmsford set to apply for Diamond Jubilee city status

Chelmsford town sign
Image caption The borough council believes local business will benefit from Chelmsford becoming a city

Chelmsford looks set to be one of two Essex towns bidding for city status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The government has announced it will upgrade one town in time for the celebrations in 2012.

Chelmsford Borough Council will decide whether to proceed with an application at a meeting on Monday 28 February.

Like Southend, which confirmed its interest in becoming a city last week, the county town has mounted two unsuccessful bids previously.

The leader of the Conservative-run Chelmsford Borough Council, Roy Whitehead, told BBC Essex why they were keen to throw their name into the ring once again.

"We think we have the opportunity here to bring additional business to Chelmsford by being a city," he said.

"Our point of view, and it's an all-party point of view, is we need to raise the profile of the town even more than it is at the moment to attract investment into Chelmsford.

"The city of Chelmsford sounds a lot better than the town of Chelmsford, so if we're going to get investment we'll be better off as a city."

'No giant banners'

Mr Whitehead said the bid would be a relatively low budget one.

"We won't spend a lot of money applying and we wont spend a lot of money [if] we get it," he said.

"You simply fill in forms, and we have very good quality staff who are already busy working away on it, and we've already got stock photographs and we will ask local businesses to support us.

"We are not spending money on giant banners, giant stalls in high streets and all of the things I know we've done in the past."

Last week David Amess, MP for Southend West, said getting city status would have a "significant impact on the morale" of the town.

Stockport, Blackpool and Reading have already confirmed they will be making bids.

Councils have until 27 May 2011 to submit their entry.

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