City status bid for Oban on the agenda

Leader and Provost on a recent trip to Oban

Oban “We have to be ambitious for Argyll and Bute. We have to consider all opportunities to grow our economy.”

These were the words of the Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Robin Currie, in advance of a Council meeting which will consider bidding for city status for Oban.

As part of the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations next year, the UK Government has launched civic competitions which include granting ‘city status’ in 2022.

Councillor Currie said:

“It’s rare that these competitions are available to enter, so it’s important that we look at how they could benefit the area. Securing city status, and beating competition from elsewhere, would be about everyone who wants to see the area succeed getting involved. I welcome this proposal coming to Council.”

A report going to Council outlines that city status can support economic recovery by attracting population, investment and job opportunities.

The report also highlights reasons for Oban bringing the highest chance of success for Argyll and Bute including:

  • It has a strategically important position on the west coast of the Highlands and Islands region independent of other cities – it  is a key transport hub, with one of the busiest ferry ports in the UK, good road, rail, active travel and air links, and is an established gateway to a number of our island communities.
  • It is a University Town with in excess of 1,000 students including the world renowned SAMs (Scottish Association for Marine Science) institute
  • It has a growing population, an expanding and diversifying economy, and is an important tourist hub (with its population boosted from 8.5k to 25k during peak summer periods)

The deadline for submissions is the 8th of December 2021.

The UK Government also announced a competition for UK City of Culture 2029.  For the first time the city of culture competition is not restricted to cities but can be entered by a place, making Argyll and Bute eligible. Council will also consider bidding for this competition.

The Council meeting takes place on Thursday 30 September.

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