South Scotland MSP Emma Harper, last night, co-chaired a meeting with Mark Jardine of the Dumfries People’s Project, of a wide range of stakeholders and individuals across Dumfries and its surrounding areas to discuss the potential of Dumfries applying for City Status as part of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.
Criteria to be considered for Civic Honours, including City Status:
Each town’s application must demonstrate:
- Distinct identity;
- Civic pride;
- Cultural infrastructure, interesting heritage, history and traditions
- Vibrant and welcoming community;
- Record of innovation;
- Sound governance and administration;
- Associations with Royalty; and
- Other particularly distinctive features, age, residents or communities who have made widely recognised significant contributions to society and cultural infrastructure.
The meeting was attended by Lord Lieutenant Fiona Armstrong who brought fantastic insight into the Platinum Jubilee plans and spoke about the seventy years of Her Majesty’s reign.
Also in attendance was NHS Dumfries and Galloway, the Holywood Trust, Crichton Foundation, D&G College, Police Scotland, DG Council, DG Chamber of Commerce, Solway Tours, Loreburne Community Council, Dumfries Agricultural Society, as well as many others. The South Scotland MSP outlined the process through which towns must apply for City Status and she provided examples of how Dumfries meets the current criteria and more. Mark Jardine then provided background to why he supports the bid and a positive discussion with stakeholders then took place, with all in favour of exploring the potential further.
Ultimately, the application for City Status must be submitted by the Local Authority for it to be considered by the Queen, but the community can feed in and help to provide input for the application. Ms Harper has welcomed the positive approach from the Local Authority so far, and the Council are currently in the process of contacting community groups and individuals across Dumfries, and the wider region, to seek agreement on the best way to proceed with an application. Ms Harper has said that she wants to ensure this process is encompassing of the whole region, and is carried out in a timely manner to meet the application deadline on December 8th.
Commenting, Ms Harper said:
“I was encouraged by the positivity of the diverse range of stakeholders at the meeting I brought together last night. We had attendance from representatives of young people in DG College and the Holywood Trust, older people in the Council’s Older Person Champion, Cllr Andy Ferguson, and of wider community interests in Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, the Dumfries Agricultural Society, DG Chamber of Commerce, and importantly from Lord Lieutenant, Fiona Armstrong, who provided fantastic insight into the Platinum Jubilee process and plans.
“Dumfries, and our surrounding areas, has a rich culture, history and civic pride. This is an exciting opportunity for Dumfries to be the First City in Scotland when people head north. Through our connections to Robert Burns, J.M Barrie, Moat Brae and Peter Pan and Robert the Bruce, the Theatre Royal, the Crichton Estate and Calvin Harris our fantastic community events like the Big Burns Supper and Guid Neighbours, as well as our Universities and College, we meet the required criteria for City Status and more. We also have abundant green spaces in Dock Park, Heathhall Forest, King George IV Park and the Crichton Gardens, to name a few. We are surrounded by forestry, cycling and active travel infrastructure and these fantastic historical, cultural and environmental assets deserve the recognition and benefits that City Status can bring.
“I now look forward to the Local Authority reporting back on their engagement with groups and individuals across the whole region and I will continue to help take this application bid forward in any way I can. We have nothing to lose through applying, and we have seen from other Scottish cities – like Inverness, Perth and Stirling – how they have gone from strength to strength socially and economically since receiving City Status. I would like to see Dumfries, and the wider region, benefit similarly using any means to help in regeneration and our recovery for COVID19.”