Could Crawley become a city?

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Crawley should bid to become a city, the town’s MP has suggested.

Seventy years ago the area around Crawley, Three Bridges and Ifield was chosen by the Government as the location for one of eight new towns.

A year’s worth of celebrations have been planned to mark the anniversary.

In the House of Commons yesterday (Thursday January 19), Crawley MP Henry Smith asked ministers if the town could explore the possibility of gaining city status in the future as it celebrated 70 years since its designation as a new town.

He said: “I appreciate that it is obviously for Her Majesty to confer city status but would the leader of the house speak with the communities secretary to see what process that Crawley may be able to start to initiate or explore that possibility?”

David Lidington, leader of the House of Commons, replied: “I’m happy to pass that request on to the communities secretary and I think the whole house will wish the people and civic leaders of Crawley congratulations on this achievement and their work over the decades in building a thriving and successful community there.”

Afterwards Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “In many countries a town like Crawley would already be considered a city and organisations like the Centre for Cities already include Crawley in their rankings, often coming towards the top of the table.

“In the UK it has traditionally required the presence of a cathedral or a university, but I believe the size of our local economy should justify city status and if Henry Smith is making that commitment then I welcome it.”

Meanwhile Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, welcomed such a move as it would go some way to supporting the Gatwick Diamond as a city economy.

He added: “Crawley has a vibrant economy and a diverse population that generally welcomes growth. If the city status were to help with improved infrastructure and services then we look forward to it.”

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