Oban makes the long list for city status, councillors say

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Oban has successfully made the long list for city status, The Oban Times has been told by two local councillors.

The ‘unofficial capital of the West Highlands’ submitted its bid to become Scotland’s eighth city on December 8, in a UK competition celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Two Oban councillors championing the bid have told The Oban Times that the university town has reportedly reached the next round.

It is not yet known if bids from other Scottish towns, including Dunfermline, Dumfries, Greenock, Elgin and Irvine, have also been selected.

Since 2000, city status has been awarded by competition on special occasions.

Inverness became Scotland’s fifth city, joining Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, in the millennium celebrations, followed by Stirling in 2002 to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and then Perth in 2012 to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

Announcing the competition, the UK Government said: ‘All valid entries will receive individual consideration on their merits, before recommendations will be made by ministers to Her Majesty. The number of awards made will depend on the strength of the applications received.’

Submitting Oban’s bid before the deadline this month, Fergus Murray, Argyll and Bute Council’s head of development and economic growth said: ‘Our bid application highlights that Oban in effect acts already as a city for surrounding island and rural mainland communities, for example by providing services – from health to education and retail – or transport connections to and from the area.

‘Bidding for city status is in part about securing support for Oban in this role by opening up new routes for funding. It’s also about creating new opportunities for economic growth that will benefit everyone.

‘We have some stiff competition, in Scotland and across the UK, for city status. We’ll find out the result in February. Given its important role in Argyll and Bute, and the wider area, Oban must be a strong contender.’