Warwick to apply for city status in Queen’s Platinum Jubilee competition

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Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire for more than 1,100 years, is to apply to become a city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year.

The national Civic Honours competition will see the Queen confer city status on one or more towns in 2022. At a recent meeting, Warwick Town Council voted to take part in the contest with the aim of seeing Warwick become known as a city.

If successful, the town will become Warwickshire’s only city in the year that the Queen marks 70 years of her reign.

Councillor Noel Butler, deputy leader of Warwick Town Council, said: “The Civic Honours competition is the perfect opportunity for Warwick to showcase its civic pride, our historic and cultural identity, in addition to being a great place to work and live. We have the castle, a magnificent church, many historic buildings, a racecourse, beautiful parks, a great cultural backdrop, and a rich history that has many connections to the Royal Family. So why shouldn’t this be recognised by becoming a city alongside some of the best-known places in the UK?

“Not only will becoming a city be a great honour for Warwick but will bring a multitude of benefits. City status will elevate the town’s profile nationally and internationally and enhance its attractiveness as a place to live. It will also attract business, providing a much-needed boost to the local commerce, hospitality and tourism sectors. This can only have a positive impact on the town and the wider area.

“Warwick may be relatively small in size but is big in ambition. We have always had a long-running drive to improve the town, to support businesses and attract tourism, but the past 18 months we have shown our confidence more than ever, weathering an incredibly difficult period, support those who needed our help and attracting funding to ensure we can continue to more forward despite the obstacles of the past few years.”

Warwick Town Council has already been backed by local organisations including Warwick Castle, the Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick Chamber of Trade and Warwick Schools Foundation, with other bodies helping to shape the submission to ensure Warwick stands the best chance possible of achieving city status.

Nick Blofeld, Divisional Director at Warwick Castle, said: “We are delighted to back Warwick Town Council in its efforts to gain city status. Warwick has a rich history that we’re proud to be a part of and always want to see recognised on an international stage. Becoming a city in such a major year would not only be a moment of great pride, but something that is good for the town in so many ways.”

There are no costs required to enter the competition and the Government has told applicants not to undergo unnecessary expense in preparing the applications, which will be judged on content and not presentation. Government ministers will recommend which town or towns should be given the honour of city status and the final decision will be made by the Queen herself.

“We’ve already had backing from several major local organisations, but now we need local residents and businesses to lend their support,” added Cllr Butler.

“We want as many people as possible to engage with our attempt to gain city status, so have set up an online form where people can log messages of support and any comments. Get involved and be part of what we hope will be yet another historic moment for Warwick.”

Messages of support and comments can be submitted online here or by post to: The Town Clerk, Warwick Town Council, The Court House, Jury St, Warwick CV34 4EW.

Two drop-in sessions will also be held at Warwick Town Council’s Council Chamber at the Court House on Jury Street, where residents and businesses can find out more. The sessions will take place on:

  • Thursday, 28th October from 5.30pm to 6.30pm
  • Friday, 29th October from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

The closing date for comments is 4th November to enable the Council to complete the written application by the competition’s deadline in early December.

Frequently asked questions

Is Warwick too small to be city?

The competition is open to all local authorities, regardless of size. With a population of more than 34,000 (source), if Warwick were successful it would become one of the smaller UK cities – but not the smallest. There would be 11 of the current cities that are smaller –

Cities smaller than Warwick (population: 34,449):

  • Newry 29,946
  • Chichester 26,795
  • Ely 20,256
  • Truro 18,766
  • Bangor 18,808
  • Ripon 16.702
  • Armagh 14,777
  • Wells 10,536
  • City of London 7,375
  • St Asaph 3.355
  • St David’s 1,841

Is Warwick significant enough in historical value or contemporary value to be city?

Warwick is woven into the fabric of the UK’s national heritage – its origins dating from 914 AD when King Alfred the Great’s daughter, Aethelflaed, built a fortified dwelling on a hilltop site overlooking the earlier riverside. Today, it is home to the offices of many innovative companies – from design to artificial intelligence. We believe that Warwick has proven itself to be home to the historic and the innovative; the two exist and thrive side-by-side as the town grows, attracting further new businesses and residents to the town. To be considered for city status would be a prestigious opportunity for the innovators working and employing people in the area.

Warwick is just a market town, albeit the County Town, why go for city status?

Warwickshire does not have a single city in the county. Given Warwick’s contribution, significance and popularity in the UK and the county, we believe it is appropriate to be known as a city – a central point to live, work, and invest here.

 Is there a chance of success for Warwick to be known as a city?

That is entirely down to Her Majesty The Queen and her advisors who will review all entries made to the City Status competition. We believe that with our heritage, residential and community spirit, royal connections, and innovative businesses in the area make us well placed for consideration.

 What support is there for this so far?

Warwick Town councillors voted to enter the competition for the benefit of the town and the whole area. We are thankful to have the backing of major local organisations including Warwick Castle, the Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick Chamber of Trade and Warwick Schools Foundation, with other bodies helping to shape the submission to ensure Warwick stands the best chance possible of achieving city status.

 What level of public support are you looking for from the residents of Warwick?

We want as many people as possible to engage in support of our entry into the competition and we will be listening to all points of view and making any decisions accordingly. The Town Council believes it represents an enormous opportunity for the continued prosperity and sustainability of the town.