Seven Scottish towns and one council area vying for city status

Seven Scottish towns and one council area are vying for city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Dumfries, Dunfermline, Elgin, Greenock, Livingston, Oban, St Andrews and the whole of South Ayrshire were highlighted.

They compete with 21 cities from England, three from Northern Ireland, two from the Isle of Man and one from Wales.

George Town in the Cayman Islands, the capital of the Falklands, Stanley, and the territory of Gibraltar were also nominated.

The winning candidates will be announced this month by the UK government, with one to be north of the border.

St Andrews and Dunfermline appear to be favorites in Scotland and bookies McBookie have Fife Towns priced at 2-1 and 5-2 respectively.

The last Scottish towns to achieve city status were Perth in 2012 and Stirling in 2002, both to mark Jubilee years.

Inverness joined the top four of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to mark the new millennium.

The River Annan, Annan Bridge and Town Hall, Dumfries and Galloway

Historian Patricia Dennison, author of The Evolution of Scotland’s Towns, said: “I would like to think that town status would be awarded to the town which has the deepest roots in Scotland’s national history.

“In which case it would be between Dunfermline and St Andrews.

“However, I would probably – just – lean towards Dunfermline as it is now the most important town in terms of population and economy.

“He also carries a slightly higher weight with his royal connections. Kings were born and buried there.

“Before Edinburgh was the capital, it was one of the places where the monarch resided.

“However, in its favour, St Andrews is named after Scotland’s patron saint, which is a simple but potentially significant factor.”

Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK

John Carnie, lecturer in planning and urban studies at the University of Glasgow, said: “Judges will be looking for a place with a sense of history and cultural identity, and all applicants have that.

“But they will also want to be convinced that a winning city feels like a city, so the bigger it is, the better it is.

“The city status will give a boost to tourism but also a competitive economic advantage.

“It is a magnet for public and private sector investment, which is essential if urban centers are to be revitalized after the pandemic.”

A Fife Council spokesman said: “St Andrews, known worldwide as the home of golf and Scotland’s first university, historically had town status.

“The ancient capital of Scotland for over 400 years, Dunfermline is today one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.”

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