Milton Keynes officially bids to become a city

Milton Keynes has submitted a bid to be granted formal city status as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.

Setting out why Milton Keynes deserves to be made a city has been a real team effort. Milton Keynes Council has bought together more than 50 knowledgeable people and organisations to develop the bid, which is received by The Queen and her senior advisors.

There’s also been a wealth of public support with hundreds of residents submitting photographs of their favourite local places. Public photos accompanied professional shots of MK’s green open spaces, heritage sites and iconic buildings in the formal application and will also be used to promote the bid while the decision is being made.

A competition was run with school pupils to design a ‘flag for MK’ and of hundreds of entries, a design created by 12-year-old Thea Callaghan from St Paul’s Catholic School was chosen as the winner.  Thea’s flag has now been made into a real flag that can be seen flying in the city centre.

Today, Thea joined partners gathered at Milton Keynes Gallery to formally send off the bid to Buckingham Palace. Representing MK’s unique mix of heritage and innovation, the bid was covered in vellum produced by WG Cowley of Newport Pagnell – the last parchment and vellum works in the country, who still provide the vellum for declarations of royal births – and was sent in an autonomous delivery robot from Starship Technologies, the company which has been providing a grocery and hot food delivery service to MK residents since 2018, powered by zero-carbon electricity.

Next year, Her Majesty the Queen will have reigned for 70 years and several cities will be established as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, finding out if they are successful in time for the nation’s extended bank holiday weekend in June 2022.

Leader of Milton Keynes Council Cllr Pete Marland said: “By any measure, Milton Keynes feels like a city and was always intended to be one. Almost 300,000 people live here, with citizens from all over the commonwealth and beyond. We have the scale and facilities, we have unrivalled green and blue space, and we teach other cities how to be successful and sustainable. We even have a cathedral though uniquely ours is made of trees rather than stone. More importantly, we are a mosaic of communities united by a love of where we live and being granted city status would be a fantastic recognition of that.”

Mayor of Milton Keynes Mohammed Khan said: “I’ve been delighted by how many local people have shown their support for the bid so far, including the hundreds of citizens who shared photographs of their favourite places, and all those children and young people who designed a flag for Milton Keynes. I’d also like to say thank you to the knowledgeable people and organisations who gave up their time to work on the bid itself and share why Milton Keynes is such a deserving candidate to receive this special honour. If city status was granted based on the strength of feeling that people have for their home, then we would be in no doubt of being named a city for the Platinum Jubilee.”

The Milton Keynes bid starts with the compelling reasons it should be granted city status, including:

  • It’s home to great diversity, with more than 140 languages spoken in its schools and a far younger population than the national average: important voices to be heard. Per head, more caring citizens volunteer in MK than in any other place in the UK.
  • It has a surprising amount of significant heritage, much with royal connections: Wolverton is the home of the Royal Train, Edward V (one of the Princes in the Tower) was captured in Stony Stratford, the world’s oldest Shrove Tuesday pancake race takes place in Olney, and Bletchley Park saw amazing achievements during World War II.
  • Our ‘city in the forest’ has more biodiversity in modern MK than in the agricultural land it replaced, with one of the highest amounts of green space per resident in the UK.
  • It’s a trailblazing place of firsts and innovation, and the base for 14,000 businesses. MK is a living laboratory for sustainable smart city projects, giving other cities a glimpse into the future.
  • It’s the only bidding city whose modern centre was established and designed to grow during Her Majesty’s reign. Today it’s a regional destination for millions of people, with nationally significant attractions and hosting major sporting and cultural events.

Read the full Milton Keynes application for city status here

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