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Dunfermline city status: What benefits will it bring?

Dunfermline Abbey
Dunfermline Abbey.

The fact Dunfermline is the only town in Scotland to be awarded city status as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations has been widely hailed.

But what exactly does it mean and how does it benefit the Fife town?

Well, according to one of the people who drew up the bid, it means everything.

Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.
Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.

It will elevate Dunfermline’s status when it comes to tourism, infrastructure and planning.

And it will unlock the ability to apply for millions of pounds of grant funding not currently available.

SNP councillor Jean Hall Muir worked hard on the bid with a group of others.

And she said the benefits will have a snowball effect, allowing the town to develop and grow.

“It doesn’t automatically unlock a new pot of money for Dunfermline,” she said.

“But what it does do is give us a massive elevation in status.

“And we’ll therefore be included in strategic visions of everything from cultural heritage to tourism and planning.

“We’ve been doing our absolute best on our own but this takes us up an extra level.”

City breaks and road signs

In addition, Dunfermline will now be able to market itself as a place to go for a city break.

This could attract far more tourists who previously overlooked the area.

And it could mean other smaller but practical benefits, such as including Dunfermline on road signs.

Former Labour councillor Helen Law, who also worked on the bid, said: “Dunfermline isn’t on any of the signs as you approach the Queensferry Crossing.

“It points to Perth and Stirling and we’re told that’s because they’re cities. That could change now and people will be pointed in our direction.”

What did city status do for Perth?

Fife is the third largest local authority area in Scotland.

And it was one of the few regions without an official city.

It need only cast its gaze a short distance up the M90 to Perth to see how city status can bring new found benefits.

Perth has reaped the benefits of its city status.
Perth has reaped the benefits of its city status.

Perth successfully regained its right to be called a city as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.

More than just a matter of pride, city status meant economic ramifications for Perth.

Most notably it became part of the Scottish Cities Alliance – a collaboration of Scotland’s cities and the Scottish Government.

And that helped promote the town and unlock huge amounts of investment.

Perth MP Pete Wishart said: “I am delighted to hear that my home town is set to receive city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

“Perth had its city status reinstated in 2012 and has since been able to expand on its cultural, social and educational ambitions, which has massively boosted civic pride.

“It now stands proudly among Scotland’s predominant cities, and I have no doubt that Dunfermline will reap the same benefits.”

Comment: Better days ahead for Dunfermline?

By Barrie Daglish

I was on my way to East End Park with my dad and his friends once when the end of a low-hanging branch poked me in the eye.

It was sore but this 10-year-old Pars fan tried not to let them see my eyes watering.

I needn’t have bothered, it turns out, because, as the years would painfully prove, it wouldn’t be the last time I’d be in tears walking along Halbeath Road.

Dunfermline the town, like Dunfermline the team, often has the same capacity for disappointment.

But, then, maybe that’s because I care; maybe it only hurts the ones who love it.

Back in the area after years away and driving around its streets with a baby in the back (please fall asleep, tiny tyrant), I noticed the shabby parts, the bits that were shut or not the way you remember them.

Now, I realise that’s the case for lots of town centres. The retail-only High Street is visible only in the rear-view mirror, I know.

Civic pride is nice…but it doesn’t heat your home”

So what’s the answer? Is it city status?

Will that help to bring high-quality jobs to the area?

Will it lessen the demand for foodbanks, improve housing and help to lift families out of poverty?

Civic pride is nice but it doesn’t heat your home and a higher profile – there are currently only 69 cities in the UK – is something but you can’t eat it.

There are no tax breaks, privileges or any other official perks. So what is it worth?

Is it self-worth, perhaps? If the main gain is prestige maybe that’s something – intangible but still there.

If the economic and societal problems we are facing take a little longer to solve, and they will, maybe this award lets me – and others – drive around my hometown with a little more optimism.

Like there are better days ahead.

Dunfermline granted city status as part of Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

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