There are many misconceptions around what exactly defines a city.

Does it have to be home to a cathedral? Is it required to have more than 300,000 people?

The answer to both is no, given Stirling – which doesn’t have bona fide cathedral – and Perth, population under 50,000, are both cities.

South Ayrshire will now have the chance to rebuff those who think only a town can be ‘upgraded’ to a city.

At a meeting of the full council yesterday (Thursday), councillors agreed to apply to become a city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year.

One of the main decisions that will need to be made is whether the bid is more traditionally centre around a town, most likely Ayr.

However, there are no limitations within the applicant’s area, so they could seek to give South Ayrshire itself city status.

Competition is likely to be intense, particularly with the organisers encouraging councils to keep their spending to a minimum.

Both Irvine and Greenock have already been touted as competitors for the honour.

The civic honour would not have a major effect on South Ayrshire, being more symbolic.

There would be no change to a city council or formal city boundaries.
Councillor Dettbarn asked what officers through would be the benefit to the people of South Ayrshire.

Chief Executive Eileen Howatt replied: “I think it is about promoting South Ayrshire.

“When people look for places to visit, they often look at cities. It is an opportunity to promote everything that is good about South Ayrshire.”

Councillor Hugh Hunter pointed out that there had been efforts to secure city status around 20 years ago.

He said: “Some of us aware huge amount of work done on possible submission for city status probably about 20 years ago. I am wondering if the information that was gathered then is still available.

“It might save a lot of work. I would also like to know what the cost would be.”

Ms Howatt agreed that the earlier work would help and said officials were attempting to ‘track down’ the information.

She added that the bid process had been intentionally simplified to ensure councils did not spend a lot of money.

For the council, the main expense could be photography which could be met by existing resources.

Council leader Peter Henderson said that it was too good a chance to pass up.

“I do think this is an ideal chance which comes around very seldom.”

All of the applications require to be made by December 8.

The government says the Civic Honours competition will provide local authorities with the chance to showcase their civic pride, interesting heritage and record of innovation.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “It’s a great opportunity for towns and cities in every corner of the country to showcase their heritage and tell us more about the people and places that make their local area so unique – and a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s reign in her Platinum Jubilee year.”