17 Sep 2021

Full Council support city status bid

Isle of Wight councillors have wholeheartedly thrown their weight behind Newport's city status bid in the hope it will raise the town's profile and lead to investment.

The Isle of Wight Council and Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council (NCCC), partners in the Shaping Newport project, have agreed to join forces to prepare an application as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next year.

At a meeting of the Full Council last night (Wednesday), councillors said Newport's status as the Island's county town and its historic links to royalty put it in a strong position.

Councillor Martin Oliver, who originally put forward the idea, said the change would boost Newport's tourism industry and economic recovery in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: "It's fantastic to have the full support of the council. This is a unique opportunity for Newport and the Island to be part of the celebrations.

"I feel as a community we should be part of that celebration and any potential benefits that may bring as we look to regenerate following the COVID pandemic."

As part of a jubilee competition for the first time in ten years, towns will be able to compete for city status.

The government has gone out of its way to make the process simple and has said it should not create a financial burden.

Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for regeneration, said it was great to see the support across the chamber and Island for the bid to go forward.

She said: "In recognition of the strong Shaping Newport partnership, Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council will be funding the bid to be written, which is being arranged through the Isle of Wight Council.

"Becoming a city will give us a renewed sense of vigour and confidence in Newport's future."

NCCC chairman, Councillor Geoff Brodie, said: "After a wide ranging discussion, NCCC supported Councillor Oliver unanimously when he brought his motion to our attention last July.

"To underline that support we will now fund the cost of the bid writing, circa £1,500, from our Shaping Newport budget. As a council we have confidence in the future of Newport and this is just one of the ways in which we can demonstrate that."

The bid must be submitted to the government by 8 December before recommendations are made to the Queen by ministers. The number of awards will depend on the strength of the applications received.

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St Thomas' Square, Newport. Patrick Eden Photography
St Thomas' Square, Newport. Patrick Eden Photography
Factfile
  • Councillors said Newport's status as the Island's county town and its historic links to royalty put it in a strong position.
 
Isle of Wight, UK