The city of Doncaster: Fourth time lucky as borough gets city status for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Doncaster is to become the UK’s newest city through the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee after decades of campaigning and four attempts.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 20th May 2022, 8:36 am

The borough is joining seven other winning applicants for city status where 38 towns in total put in applications.

Milton Keynes, Wrexham, Colchester and Dunfermline in Scotland and Stanley in the Falkland Islands, were some of the other chosen cities.

In 2000, Doncaster lost out to Brighton, Inverness and Wolverhampton and again in 2002 for the Queen’s Jubilee when Preston, Stirling, Newport, and Northern Ireland’s Lisburn and Newry were selected.

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Doncaster is set to become a city

Doncaster tried again in 2012 but Chelmsford, St Asaph in Wales and Perth in Scotland were chosen instead.

But 10 years on, Doncaster has been successful.

Politicians and business leaders in Doncaster have all lauded the announcement and said having city status would bring more inward investment to the region.

They also said the status would increase the area’s prestige with a more ‘attractive prospect’ for those outside the UK, who are looking for places to conduct their trade.

Mayor Ros Jones said being a city will help boost the profile of Doncaster on many different levels from attracting new and growing business, underlining Doncaster as a tourist destination, upping our role on the national stage and giving the area a stronger voice. Picture: Marie Caley

Business leaders also say that having Doncaster sit alongside Sheffield as South Yorkshire’s second city will give the region more clout with national government.

The demanding application process required a huge number of resources from colleagues at Doncaster Chamber, the council and various other partners.

Specifically, the bid team was required to submit evidence of areas like Doncaster’s unique identity, the borough’s interesting heritage, vibrant culture, associations with royalty, and the business community.

In addition to creating this in-depth profile of the borough, we were also required to supply supplementary material to further support the application, including photos, details of transport routes and maps.

Doncaster Chamber CEO Dan Fell

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones said: “This is brilliant news – I am utterly delighted that our borough has been recognised in this way as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“To become one of the UK’s newest cities underlines our firmly held belief that we think, act and feel like a city. I’ve said for a long time that we are a city in all but name and now we can proudly say that Doncaster has achieved city status.

“This royal seal of approval will mean we can continue with our vision to drive our borough forward and realise our aspirations. Being a city will help boost the profile of Doncaster on many different levels from attracting new and growing business, underlining Doncaster as a tourist destination, upping our role on the national stage and giving us a stronger voice.”

Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber, added: ““With both Doncaster and Sheffield, South Yorkshire is now home to two cities, which means that we will have an even bigger seat at the table when it comes to engaging national government.

“With this enhanced platform, we will be in a better position than ever before to drive the levelling up agenda in South Yorkshire, to hold policy-makers to account and to fight for the interests of our business communities.

“Another city in South Yorkshire will help bring more inward investment to the region, as we will have increased prestige and will be recognised as a more attractive prospect for those outside the UK, who are looking for places to conduct their trade.

“With a leading airport, strong connectivity to the rest of the country, established links in the rail industry and now official city status, Doncaster is truly developing into a fantastic place to do business. We really have come a long way in the past few years.

“I am looking forward to an even more prosperous future for South Yorkshire now. We’re going to see huge reputational and economic benefits from this, attracting more businesses and skilled workers into the area.

Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, and Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central added: “This is a proud day for Doncaster. For many years we have been a city in all but name. Now it is a reality.

“The people of Doncaster should take enormous credit in making this happen. It is our brilliant businesses, amazing voluntary organisations, fantastic culture, great educational institutions and our inspiring people who are the biggest reasons this has happened.

“Mayor Ros Jones’ leadership has been crucial in turning the council round and she and Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber, have done an incredible job leading the campaign for City status. Now we must build on this great achievement with more good jobs at decent wages, great public services and fairness in our great city.”

Alexis Krachai, chief executive of Sheffield Chamber, said: “Doncaster securing city status is fantastic news for all of South Yorkshire.

“The fact that South Yorkshire now has two cities will give the region increased leverage with national Government.

“Hopefully this will help to drive additional public investment into the region – including in areas such as skills and infrastructure – as, collectively, South Yorkshire’s cities work together to hold the Prime Minister to account on his levelling up commitments.

“As I have said previously, what’s good for Doncaster is good for Sheffield and vice versa. We congratulate our partners in Doncaster on this success and look forward to working with them to also make South Yorkshire’s Great British Railway HQ bid a success.”

Having city status can provide a boost to communities and open up new opportunities for the people who live there, according to the Cabinet Office.

Previous towns to achieve city status have pointed towards ‘putting X on the map’, being seen as part of an ‘elite club’ and the benefits it will provide to the economy.

International recognition is another factor, which again may provide advantages to businesses and the economy, as well as local pride and a subsequent buzz about the area.In terms of tax breaks, privileges and any other official perks, there are none, merely status – but it’s what that status means to the community and how the area can make the most of it.