City bid

Crawley is applying for city status – on the 75th anniversary of the new town.

The town is entering the Civic Honours competition, part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Crawley bid

Crawley’s bid will be based around the central message of ‘75 years ago, you made Crawley a New Town. In that time, we have grown to become a regional powerhouse. Imagine what we can achieve if you made us a New City’.

Crawley is a success story that encapsulates all that is good about post-war Britain. The Platinum Jubilee marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Crawley as a New Town, which has the motto ‘A Place to Grow’ – and how it has grown!  

This ancient Sussex market town, with a population of 9,000 in 1947, is transformed and now home to more than 114,000 residents, a £6bn economy and Gatwick Airport, the world’s busiest single runway airport.

Benefits of entering the competition, even if a bid is unsuccessful, include the opportunity to:

  • Celebrate and promote the town’s strengths, including our economic power, Gatwick Airport being in the borough, our sense of community and exciting, long-term regeneration programme
  • Rebuild optimism and pride after suffering the worst economic impacts of the pandemic
  • Have a wider discussion about what Crawley can become

The Crawley city bid will be submitted before 8 December 2021.

Hear from Councillor Peter Lamb about the bid

Watch a video of Cllr Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, outlining the benefits and expelling some of the myths about bidding for city status as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

City status questions and answers

What are the chances of Crawley being awarded city status?

We believe that we Crawley will have a good bid but there will be a lot of competition from several other towns.

Why are we bidding?

  • Celebrate and promote the town’s strengths, including our economic power, Gatwick Airport being in the borough, our sense of community and exciting, long-term regeneration programme
  • Rebuild optimism and pride after suffering the worst economic impacts of the pandemic
  • Have a wider discussion about what Crawley can become

We want to use this as an opportunity to showcase what’s great about Crawley.

The bid for city status will raise Crawley’s profile, enhance its reputation and ensure it is a place that is recognised, helping to put Crawley on the map. 

Given the significant economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our town which is well documented and evidenced; securing city status would bring with it prestige, standing and an opportunity to lever investment to aid our recovery.

Studies suggest that a successful bid for city status could bring further investment and employment opportunities.

How do I get involved?

Get involved on our social media channels using the hashtags #NewTownToNewCity and #CrawleyCity

Which other towns are bidding?

Several towns have said they will bid or investigating whether to bid. They include Doncaster, Dudley, Dumfries, Ipswich, Medway, Merthyr Tydfil, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Oban, Reading, Swindon and Warrington.

Don't you need a cathedral?

No, there are no set criteria. You don't need a cathedral and there is no minumum population size.

How much does it cost to bid?

Nothing, just existing staff time. In fact, the entry guidance states: “the government is asking local authorities to submit their entries in a standard size and format, as detailed in the application form. This is intended to help local authorities minimise the expense of entering the competitions and to provide the government with a fair basis for comparison and assessment of the entries received.”

It also states: “Local authorities should not incur any expenditure on lobbyists for the purposes of influencing the competition.”

How many places will be granted city status?

It will depend on the strengths of bids received. In the last round of city bids, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph were named as cities.

When will we know which towns have won?

The closing dates for bids to be submitted is 8 December. The government will announce the winners of the competition in early 2022.

Where can I find out more about the competition?

For more details visit the government's website.