Moray Council has formally agreed to submit a bid for Elgin to be officially recognised with city status.
A competition is being run as part of the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations to bestow the special title on a town.
Now Moray Council has agreed that Elgin will throw its hat into the ring to take its place among the most celebrated in Scotland with city status.
Councillors are urging people to get behind the bid, and said if successful it will have “opportunities for the whole of Moray, the north-east and Highlands.”
Hang on, isn’t Elgin a city already?
Elgin has long been regarded as a city by many in the community.
Indeed, the local football team has been known as Elgin City since the 1890s.
The RAF recently named one of its new fleet of P-8 Poseidons as the City of Elgin.
And signs welcoming people entering on the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road describe it as a “historic cathedral city”.
However, the community is not officially recognised as a city after a reorganisation of local government in the 1970s granted that title to only Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow – with Inverness, Perth and Stirling later being recognised.
Alastair Kennedy, chairman of Elgin Community Council, said: “After decades of debate it’s time Elgin has the recognition is deserves as a city.
“There are historic records that show we have a valid claim as an existing city but this opportunity to apply for official city status is too good to miss.”
Council leader Graham Leadbitter said: “Elgin Community Council wrote to us saying they would like to see a bid put forward.
“This has all come together quite well with a number of discussions and I believe there’s broad support for this.
“While Elgin has the right to call itself a city because it was decreed a long time ago, it isn’t technically a modern city.
“If we can have that re-classed there will be opportunities for the whole of Moray, the north-east and Highlands.”
What happens now?
The deadline for entries for the UK Government-run civic honours competition is December 8.
All valid entries – which will include photographs and maps of landmarks, tourist attractions, entertainment and leisure venues and parks – will be considered before ministers make recommendations to the Queen to have the final decision.
Oban is also reported to be considering a bid for city status while Dumfries has already confirmed an entry.
Perth was granted city status as part of the diamond jubilee while Inverness was recognised in a similar competition organised for the millennium.
Aaron McLean, chairman of Moray Council’s corporate committee, said: “Given the lengthy debate on this topic over the years the committee decision to back this bid comes off the back of great enthusiasm locally for this to happen.
“There’s a strong history of evidence showing why Elgin should be awarded city status and I hope Her Majesty comes to the same conclusion when awarding the bid next year.”
The six Elgin councillors have agreed to provide £2,000 finding from the common good fund for the bid, which is being backed by the community council and Elgin Business Improvement District.
Conservative councillor for Keith and Cullen Donald Gatt supported the application.
He said : “Some would say Elgin has never lost it’s city status but if we can cement that in modern terms it will be for the greater good.”