The Mayor of Watford is doubtful that Watford being granted city status is worthwhile.

A competition has launched for local authorities to apply for city status for their area or town to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year, the Cabinet Office has announced.

Authorities will be asked to make a case for why the area deserves to be bestowed with a city status.

In a poll conducted by the Watford Observer, which is still running, voters appear split on whether they believe Watford should become a city.

Out of 188 voters, 48 per cent of people were in support of Watford being granted city status, while 46 per cent people shared their opposition.

Six per cent of voters said that for now Watford should remain a town, but perhaps its status should change in the future.

When asked about whether Watford Borough Council was considering applying for city status, Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “My instinctive reaction is to ask, ‘will this benefit us?’

“My focus is making sure we recover from Covid by supporting local people and businesses to adapt and grow. That is key for everyone in our town.”

The awards of city status are honorific and confer no additional powers, functions or funding.

In the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year in 2012, the last time this competition was run, Watford did not attempt to compete for city status.

Watford Observer: Mayor Peter Taylor asks 'will this benefit us?'Mayor Peter Taylor asks 'will this benefit us?'

According to a Freedom of Information request back in 2012, Doncaster – a town which applied for city status in 2002, 2010 and 2012 – had spent £652 on marketing literature, banners and courier costs during the 2012 bid.

On February 6, 2022, the Queen will have reigned as monarch for 70 years – the first time a British sovereign will have been on the throne for seven decades.

For the first time, the city status competition will also be open to applications from the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, according to the Cabinet Office.

In addition to the city status competition, existing cities in the UK can enter a parallel competition for a Lord Mayoralty, or Lord Provostship as it is known in Scotland.

This is a distinction given to a small number of long-established and important cities, entitling the city’s Mayor, or Provost, to be known as the Lord Mayor or Lord Provost during their term of office.

The competition will close on December 8 this year and all valid entries will receive individual consideration on their merits, before recommendations are made to the Queen by ministers.

The number of awards made across the UK, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies will depend on the strength of the applications received, the Cabinet Office adds.

Culture Secretary and Hertsmere MP 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.”

Constitution and devolution minister Chloe Smith added: “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.”