Essex criticised in new tourist guide

AN INDEPENDENT bookshop has said it will not stock a tourist guide to England which describes Essex as an “unappetising commuter strip”.

AN INDEPENDENT bookshop has said it will not stock a tourist guide to England which describes Essex as an “unappetising commuter strip”.

The Rough Guide to England, part of the popular long-running travel series, has been criticised for its “supercilious” attitude towards the county.

In the latest edition, published earlier this month, author Phil Lee claims the county's proximity to London has turned much of it into an “unappetising commuter strip” with only Colchester really worth a detour.

Ginny Waters, who runs the Wivenhoe Bookshop, said she would be calling for those compiling future editions of the publication to look at the county in more detail and investigate some of its celebrated and picturesque locations.

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She said: “I think it's just crazy. It's just got a bad reputation because of the south Essex proximity to London but that shouldn't be.

“I think it makes the whole series look inaccurate.”

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Martin Newell, Wivenhoe-based writer, poet and EADT columnist, said he felt the comments in the book were an example of London looking down on Essex and he feared it could damage the county's tourism trade.

He said: “The whole of Essex gets about a page-and-a-half in the Rough Guide when it is England's eighth biggest county.

“I feel that this is more than just what London normally does in its sniping; it's really damaging to our tourist industry.

“I think it shows that our supercilious metropolitans sped up the A12, stopped off at Colchester, popped into Dedham for lunch and then left the county.”

A spokesman for Rough Guides said: “England is hugely diverse and it's a struggle every time we publish a new edition to decide what stays in, what goes, and any new places we should consider including.

“Unfortunately that means there will always be some worthwhile attractions that don't quite make it.”

Those travellers looking for a more positive viewpoint on the county can pick up a copy of the Lonely Planet's guide to England.

The book describes Essex as a county filled with “diversity and diversions”, if you throw aside the “old stereotypes”.

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