Colchester gets city status - fuelling disappointment over no Ipswich bid

Colchester town centre is set for new open spaces

Colchester has been named a city - Credit: Charlie Ridler

Colchester has been granted city status as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee civic honours - fuelling disappointment among some people at Ipswich's decision to not bid at all.

Colchester is Britain's first recorded settlement and its first capital, and joins seven other places to receive the status.

Ipswich did not proceed with an application for city status, with the bid scrapped in June last year.  

The town has bid for the honour many times before over the last 30 years, and borough council leader David Ellesmere believed it was right to seek to become Suffolk's first city this time around.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt didn't believe the time was right, and said at the time: "I can see both sides of the argument and could well see a time in the future where we could really unite together as a community to push for City status. I just don't see now as being that time.

"We don't need to be a city to achieve what we want to achieve and just because we're not a city it doesn't mean we're a lesser place to, say, Norwich or Chelmsford. Of course, I'd argue we're a far better place."

Terry Baxter, chief executive of Inspire Suffolk

Terry Baxter, chairman of Ipswich Central - Credit: Simply C Photography

Reacting to the news that Colchester had won city status, chairman of Ipswich Central Terry Baxter said: "It's a disappointing consequence that Ipswich didn't go for city status and another illustration of the need for all parties who have an interest in promoting our town to work together because without it we fail to benefit.

"Ipswich is to all intents and purposes a city in its own right, so to miss out on this opportunity is just further disappointment for our town."

As a city, Colchester can expect a boost to the local community and opening up of new opportunities for people, according to the cabinet office.

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Colchester MP, Will Quince, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the UK's first Roman city has become the UK's newest city as part of HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

"City status will mean that our dynamic economy, nationally-recognised award-winning cultural and heritage assets and internationally renowned university can reach new heights. We can all share pride in this honour."

Colchester High Steward and the town's former MP, Sir Bob Russell, said: "Colchester is no longer wrongly labelled as Britain’s oldest recorded town – we have regained the title of Britain’s first city, established in AD:49 by the Emperor Claudius when at the same time he made Colchester the first capital of Roman Britain."

Stanley in the Falkland Islands, Douglas on the Isle of Man, Bangor in Northern Ireland, Doncaster, Milton Keynes, Dunfermline and Wrexham have all also been granted city status.