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Tower Hamlets bids for city status

PUBLISHED: 10:46 16 May 2011 | UPDATED: 17:08 16 May 2011

Tower Hamlets could become a city

Tower Hamlets could become a city

Archant

Tower Hamlets is to bid for city status as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year.

Acquiring the accolade would be a “boost” to the borough and show what it has to offer, mayor Lutfur Rahman said.

Only one local authority will win the title as part of the festivities and the town hall is competing against Middlesborough, Blackpool and Reading.

City status has to be granted by the monarch and gives no special rights other than the prestige of the accolade.

Traditionally it was given to towns with diocesan cathedrals but nowadays there are no set criteria.

The council said the status will bring “a raft of benefits” to the area, highlighting the borough’s rich history, diverse communities, thriving arts scene and the economic might of Canary Wharf.

Mr Rahman said: “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 council said the bid would cost about £10,000 with another £10,000 provided by the Canary Wharf Group.

It said if it was successful it would make every effort to keep rebranding costs “down to a minimum”.

A spokesman added: “In these difficult financial times, we’re sure residents would not want the council to spend lots of money on branding.

“Obviously should our bid be successful there will be some branding changes required over time, but we would make these changes within existing schedules as well as seeking new funding.”

The opposition party is in agreement with the bid.

Cllr Peter Golds, Tory leader, said: “It will increase the profile of the borough, but there will be some expense.

“Certainly, as the City of London has the City of Westminster to its west, then it is possible to have the City of Tower Hamlets, which is named after and includes the Tower, to its east.”

East Enders are being encouraged to send in interesting pictures of the borough and life here for the council’s bid document on May 27.

Enter them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/towerhamlets/ by May 20.

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