Gordon Lake

We contacted the government about Dronfield becoming an independent state

The Common, Hill Top.

Dronfield (much like Carlsberg) doesn’t do principalities, but if they did, they would be the best in the world. Well, they would be the best in their respective micro-nations, at least.

Gordon decided to investigate what it takes for a small town to become an independent nation without the need for extremism, terrorism and bad banter (much like you would find in the Middle East). The hope was to incite the Derbyshire Spring, which, even if it did happen, would only get 10 lines in the Derbyshire Times.

Below is genuine correspondence from a wonderfully helpful staff member at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

From Gordon to Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I live in a small town on the outskirts of Sheffield, and I am currently running a campaign called ‘Dronfield Pride’. I wondered if you could give me some information on how I would go about changing the status of my town to a principality?

Thanks in advance,

Gordon Lake

From DCLG to Gordon

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email.

There is no process to change the status of a town to a principality.

Kind regards.

[name removed]
Department of Communities and Local Government
London SW1E 5DU

From Gordon to DCLG

Hi [name removed],

Thanks for the reply, if there is no process how would I go about it? Is it just a case of changing the welcome signs on the edge of town?

From DCLG to Gordon

Dear Sir,

You will appreciate that DCLG cannot provide an interpretation of the law, which is ultimately a matter for the courts.  We would advise that you should obtain your own legal advice on this matter.   Your local Citizens Advice Bureau might be able to help.  You can contact them via the Citizens Advice Bureau website at:

http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Outdoor signs that are not traffic signs within the meaning of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 are controlled under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/783 as amended by SI 2007/1739).  Decisions on whether signs should be permitted to mark the boundaries of towns are a matter for the relevant local planning authority (and highway authority if it is proposed to erect signs within or near the highway).

I would also suggest that any change would need the backing of the majority of the local population.

From Gordon to DCLG

Hi [name removed],
I’m not for a second suggesting the erection of new signs, as this strikes me as something that would require a large amount of capital investment, merely editing the signs with paint or pens? Would this change the legal status of my town if enough people were behind it?
In terms of having a majority, the project is relatively small scale, and mainly involves friends and family, but how many would you say I need to have the right to make a change?
Thanks again,
From DCLG to Gordon

Dear Sir,

As previously stated, there is no process for turning a town into a principality.

You will also appreciate that DCLG cannot provide an interpretation of the law, which is ultimately a matter for the courts. We would advise that you should obtain your own legal advice on this matter.

I believe that the replies we have given you clearly explain what avenues are open to you. I consider that I have answered your queries as far as I am able and, unless future correspondence raises new issues or new requests for information, any further correspondence on this matter will receive an acknowledgement, but not a substantive response.

Kind regards.

[name removed]
Department of Communities and Local Government
London SW1E 5DU

From Gordon to DCLG

Hi [name removed],
I fear that I have got the wrong end of the stick here, what is your area in terms of advising?
Thanks,
G Lake

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