Colchester rebranded as a city...even though it’s a town
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A war of words has broken out between community leaders in Colchester after it was rebranded as a city - even though it is still only a town.
Colchester Borough Council’s cabinet decided to call the area “Britain’s First City”, a big change from its previous strapline as “Britain’s Oldest Recorded Town”.
The new slogan is technically correct, as Colchester was once a city.
But it has caused outrage on social media, with Colchester MP Will Quince blasting the authority as the “most arrogant council” - and Labour’s Tim Young, leader of the council, hitting back by calling Mr Quince “Britain’s least effective MP”.
Councillor Darius Laws, who led the cross-party committee on heritage and tourism, said: “We said, as a committee, we should consider making the new strapline ‘Britain’s First Roman City’ - but that any change needed public consultation.
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“I am disappointed that this decision and I agree with Will Quince that it does seem arrogant.
“The new line implies that we are a city now and that’s misleading, I wanted to see a reference to our Roman heritage.”
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Destination Colchester, a Community Interest Company (CIC), supports the change and has used the now-official strapline on its own documents since 2012.
Even Simon Taylor, chairman of the CIC, was surprised at the lack of consultation and had issued an explanation addressing some misconceptions before the decision to adopt the new line was made.
Mr Taylor said: “We had rather assumed that there would be some sort of public consultation on the decision, as had been recommended by the heritage task and finish group.
“Obviously the council was aware of our use of Britain’s First City as a strapline, not least because it had been prominently displayed in their tourist information centre for over three years on our leaflets.”
Mr Quince said: “It’s sad when the only response is a personal attack on something like this.
“I hope the council will pause this decision and we will see something change soon.”