Croydon's ethnic diversity is one its best features, according to a community survey being used to back the bid for city status.

Representatives from business and commerce, education, arts, sports, health, faiths, minority groups, community groups and politics have united in backing the campaign, which is working towards its October deadline.

And the multi-cultural nature of the borough is among the leading aspects highlighted by those canvassed.

Messages of support have poured into the Town Hall and will be presented to the Lord Chancellor along with the new submission and three previous submissions during the past 50 years.

Analysis of the responses reveals ten recurring strengths which locally are felt to put Croydon at the forefront of contenders competing for the honour that will be granted to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee;

Rich diversity of its vibrant, multi-cultural population.

Value of effective partnership.

Excellent communications with Tramlink being outstanding.

Engine room of the south east.

History and heritage.

Distinct identity from London.

Possession of common city characteristics, particularly through scale and size

Vision for the future.

Tradition of voluntary work.

and above all, pride and optimism.

Council leader Hugh Malyan said: "Time and again the strength that comes from Croydon having a vibrant, multi-cultural society is highlighted."

He said that the recurring themes in dozens of submissions demonstrated pride, confidence and optimism

And he added: "For me, two testimonies struck me in particular. Chandra Babu, chair of Croydon's Asian Resource Centre says that in many ways Croydon is a model to others in its management of a multicultural society'.

"And Lord Weatherill, the former Speaker of the House of Commons and for many years before that, a Croydon MP, said I submit that few, if any other boroughs in the kingdom can make similar claims for city status'.

September 25, 2001 9:04

Tom Geoghegan