Milton Keynes could become a city next year as council bids for official city status

An old aerial shot of Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes could officially become a city next year as the local council will be making a formal bid to the Queen.

Although Milton Keynes may feel like a city due to its size, population and local landmarks, it is still officially a town - the largest town in Buckinghamshire. 

But this could soon change, as Her Majesty will be awarding rare civic honours as part of The Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022. It will be the first time in a decade that the Queen has awarded such honours. 

The Civic Honours competition has been launched across the UK today, and local authorities can make a case for why its area deserves to be granted city status.

Milton Keynes Council has since confirmed that they will be taking part in the competition, hoping to be granted official city status next year.

Milton Keynes' MPs, Cllr Marland, the Labour Leader of Milton Keynes Council, and Cllr Walker, the Leader of the Conservative Group, have all supported the plans. 

Iain Stewart, the MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for MK to gain official city status. Having recently marked our 50th birthday, such an award would help demonstrate to the world that we are such a great place to live. We will work together to put in the best bid possible.”

Ben Everitt, the MP for Milton Keynes North, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Milton Keynes to finally get the city status we know we deserve. Milton Keynes has become a wonderful place to live, work and bring up a family with beautiful green spaces, innovative and ambitious businesses and vibrant, diverse communities.

“I hope Milton Keynes Council will put a strong pitch forward to ensure the new city becomes an official city.”

Applying for the competition is part of Milton Keynes Council's newly unveiled recovery plan. The competition will close on 8 December 2021, and all valid entries will receive individual consideration on their merits before recommendations will be made by ministers to Her Majesty The Queen. 

Alex Walker, the Leader of Milton Keynes' Conservative Group on MK Council, said: "Achieving city status for MK would be an enormous boost and incredible opportunity. We’re a place rich in culture and history, innovation, beautiful green spaces and diverse communities that make MK unique and such a designation would only grow our reputation as a great place to live, work and enjoy life.”

Speaking about the competition, Chloe Smith, the Minister of State for the Constitution & Devolution, explained: “The Civic Honours competition is an opportunity to promote your hometown and win an honour for it that will last for all time. I encourage entries from local authorities in every part of the UK, from vibrant towns and cities with distinct identities, history, and sense of community.

“The brilliance of the United Kingdom is rooted in diverse and unique communities brought together by a shared sense of civic pride, so I have no doubt the competition will be fierce - but success will be a historic moment of celebration for the winners, which will take its place within Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee.”