Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley steps up city status bid with public pledge call

Local people are being called on to back Dudley's bid to win city status.

To mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a new city will be created and Dudley is one of 26 places in the running.

The council has launched a campaign encouraging people to sign a "pledge of support" for the borough's ambition.

An event was held in the town on Wednesday where the council also revealed more details of a £200m regeneration plan for the area.

The blueprint includes a £46m proposal to develop Castle Hill, a revamp for the market and a bid to attract a new supermarket.

The council laid out its plans to shoppers and traders and also gave people the chance to sign up and back the bid to become a city.

Image caption BBC WM broadcast from the town centre event

One of the first to sign was vice-chairman of the Black Country Society, Douglas Winterborn, who hoped that Dudley was successful.

"It's got more to offer in such a small area than any other place," he said.

Local church warden Adrian Baillie agreed: "We've been a jewel of the industrial revolution for two or three hundred years so I think we deserve it."

'Encourage investment'

However, Pat and Terry Jordan from Coseley, wanted to know how the borough as a whole would benefit.

Angus Adams, cabinet member for regeneration, said city status would mean extra investment which would "benefit all of the borough".

Dudley Council leader Les Jones said: "Our main ambition over the last eight or nine years has been to keep council tax as low as possible, there are no implications from city status that would change that."

He said city status would be "fantastic" for the borough: "We believe it will make a difference to our profile nationally and internationally and help to encourage inward investment."

The name of the successful new city is expected to be announced early next year.

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