A new bid to gain city status for Ipswich has been launched as speculation mounts over whether King Charles' Coronation in May will be marked by a new competition.

Ipswich did not bid during the competition held last year for the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee after MP Tom Hunt said he could not support it because of opposition from some constituents.

Now a new campaign to persuade people of the benefits of city status has been launched that could support any bid for Ipswich to become a Coronation City - or in any future competitions.

The Future City campaign is promoted by Ipswich Central and has political and business support.

Ipswich Star: Sophie Alexander-Parker of Ipswich Central. Picture: Cherry Beesley/Simply C PhotographySophie Alexander-Parker of Ipswich Central. Picture: Cherry Beesley/Simply C Photography (Image: Cherry Beesley/Simply C Photography)

Sophie Alexander-Parker, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: "Ipswich should wholeheartedly be behind a bid.

"But first we must understand what it means to be a city and what the benefits could be for Ipswich, by including everyone who has a view.

"This is about gathering the evidence, building the narrative and being able to present a case of support for City Status.

"The work around what this could mean for Ipswich must be started and built on, Ipswich Central fully supports the borough in submitting a bid if and when the time comes again."

Ipswich Star: Ipswich MP Tom Hunt can see the benefits of city status - but wants to ensure it has public support.Ipswich MP Tom Hunt can see the benefits of city status - but wants to ensure it has public support. (Image: House of Commons)

Mr Hunt said it was vital to show public support for a future bid.

He said: “I understand Ipswich Central and sections of the business community feel strongly about City status.

"I can also well understand why they are launching a public campaign to try and communicate some of the potential benefits of City status.

"There are different views on this across the Town. That much is clear. It’s not certain whether there will actually be another competition to coincide with the King’s Coronation but I suspect there will be. 

"I’m not blind to some of the potential benefits. A key thing for me is Ipswich’s position as the pre-eminent settlement in Suffolk in a civic sense.

"I do though continue to be of the view that the views of local residents must be taken into account.”

The wider business community also feels there could be benefits for Ipswich if it were to become a city.

Ipswich Star: Toby Warren from Suffolk Chamber. Picture: Nicky West/Suffolk ChamberToby Warren from Suffolk Chamber. Picture: Nicky West/Suffolk Chamber (Image: Nicky West/Suffolk Chamber)

Suffolk Chamber's Toby Warren said: "As a point of principle, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce believes that there are benefits for Ipswich and Suffolk more broadly, from the county town acquiring city status.

"It is vital that the process towards such a venture is well-evidenced, inclusive and confident in engaging with our communities.

“Suffolk Chamber, therefore, supports the commencement of a discussion and dialogue between all interested parties to establish a broad consensus in order to establish the most secure platform for any city status bid for Ipswich to be successful.”

Ipswich Star: Labour's Jack Abbott backs the City Bid.Labour's Jack Abbott backs the City Bid. (Image: Jack Abbott/Ipswich Labour Party)

And Labour parliamentary candidate for Ipswich Jack Abbott added his support for a city bid: “This is a really exciting announcement.

“City status is a huge opportunity for both Ipswich and Suffolk as a whole. It could boost our national profile, attract major projects and help create new jobs and investment.

“Essex now has three cities and I don’t want to see Ipswich miss out again. We have so much to be proud of and this bid could help unlock the potential we all know Ipswich has.

“It is time to be bold and ambitious so we can build a new future for Ipswich.”