Bolton is entering the race to be granted city status in 2012.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced on January 5 that a national competition for city status would be held to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
And civic leaders have now confirmed that they are bidding to become a city.
Bolton Council Leader Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “We’re a city in all but name and I think Bolton deserves to be a city. We’re one of the biggest towns in the country and we have a long and proud history dating back more than a thousand years. We should go after the official recognition we rightfully deserve. I think if we became a city then it would boost an even greater sense of civic pride. It would also help to boost our profile, make us more attractive as a place to hold major events and do business and more than anything it will spark a feel-good factor.”
The bid was also backed by the leaders of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Councillor John Walsh said: "Bolton has a long and proud history being one of the first boroughs created in 1838. Local and civic pride is very important and city status would be a huge boost locally and in cementing Bolton's place regionally, nationally and internationally. There has never been a better time for a strong bid to bring together all that is best in Bolton to show the world that Bolton is the place for business and commerce, sport and leisure."
Councillor Roger Hayes added: “I fully support Bolton’s bid to be granted city status. We already have a bishop, a premiership football team and a proud history. As one of the friendliest towns in the country, the recognition given by becoming a city would be appreciated by all the communities in the Borough.”
And Bolton comedian Dave Spikey has added his support to the bid. He said: “Bolton is a big town with a big heart. I’ve always said that Bolton possesses a wealth of stunning architecture including the most wonderful town hall. It is a vibrant town with much to offer from its traditional market, to a nationally acclaimed theatre and becoming a city would back up its status in Greater Manchester. I’m immensely proud of Bolton and Boltonians are the most genuine, warm and welcoming folk that you’re ever likely to meet.”
Jonathan Shorrock, President of Bolton Local Chamber of Commerce, also backed the bid. He said: “It is an exciting prospect and entirely appropriate that Bolton should seek city status. Bolton has an enviable history of industrial and commercial innovation, growth and development led by Bolton entrepreneurs and supported by a loyal and local workforce. The strength, diversity and integrity of Bolton’s business activity can only be enhanced by its recognition as a city.”
The last competition coincided with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 when Bolton was beaten to city status by Preston, Newport and Stirling. But since then the town has seen the establishment of the University of Bolton; Bolton Wanderers have established themselves in the Premiership; held successful international events such as the badminton and cycling competitions during the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and the UK Ironman Triathlon; and developed economic links with China and India.
In 2005 the Bolton Vision Partnership, comprising the council and other public sector agencies; the private sector; voluntary and community groups and the local media developed the Bolton brand to promote the borough.
A motion is due to be passed at a council meeting on March 3, to ask all the councillors to support the bid.
The final details of how the bid process will work have yet to be finalised. In previous city status bids councils have been asked to submit a bid document.