London

Tower Hamlets bids for Diamond Jubilee city status

Tower Hamlets is to bid for city status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.

The London borough was given the go ahead to bid by its mayor Lutfur Rahman, who believes city status will benefit the area.

City status is available for only one local authority area in the UK and Tower Hamlets will be up against Middlesbrough, Blackpool and Reading.

The government will announce the successful candidate early next year.

Mr Rahman said: "We are unique in that we have a thriving business and shopping district in Canary Wharf, an innovative arts scene, a first-rate university on our doorstep in Queen Mary, and a vibrant community spirit, which has embraced different groups of people throughout our history.

'Community spirit'

"The royal wedding celebrations which I attended were testament to the genuine community spirit that exists in the borough and there is a real appetite to build on this pride and let everyone know what an amazing place Tower Hamlets is."

The bid has been backed by Canary Wharf Group, local businesses and community groups.

The council will be submitting the bid document on 27 May and residents are being encouraged to submit images of the borough which best illustrate what is unique about Tower Hamlets.

Any local authority in any part of the UK can apply for city status.

The last two city status competitions were held for the millennium, and the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

In 2002 Preston, Newport, Stirling, Lisburn and Newry were awarded city status.

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