Baildon is now officially a town after a swift decision by the parish council to instantly adopt a new identity.

At a meeting it was agreed to ditch the title of village in favour of town, meaning historic regalia could be dusted off and soon be back in use – including a mayoral chain.

Although the change was mooted at its annual parish meeting in May, councillors decided it was better to act swiftly rather than carry out surveys of local opinion, said chairman Chris Flecknoe after the meeting.

Coun Flecknoe said: “We felt the time had come to grasp the nettle .We didn’t feel it amounted to such a significant decision that we should delay it in order to carry out any form of public referendum, which we thought could be a costly and unneccesary exercise. The council has a nearly-finished new website and we felt Bailson should feature on that as a town. So we were keen to get the matter resolved before that goes on line.

“The parish council decided that being a town would be more inclusive in that there are so many different neighbourhoods within Baildon and with a population of some 16,000, it’s much bigger than many places which call themselves towns already.”

She added there might be a financial dividend by raising Baildon’s status to that of a town, which could then lift its national profile. Coun Flecknoe said it was also agreed that the parish clerk should contact Bradford Council, which owns the Baildon town insignia and mayoral chain, with regard to taking possession of them again. Baildon was an urban district classed as a town until 1974.

“However it was not decided whether we should switch to having a mayor instead of a chairman. That’s something which people are reflecting on,” said Coun Flecknoe, who abstained from voting.

Councillor Marion Taylor voted in favour of the decision and said:” My opinion is that Baildon is a town, not a village.”

But parish and Bradford Councillor Roger L’Amie (Con, Baildon) said he felt there should have been more consultation with residents themselves: “My view is that there should have been some organised, informal soundings taken – I’m not convinced a wide enough body of village opinion was canvassed.”