COLCHESTER’s ancient position as the center of Britain’s Roman occupation was finally recognized with the granting of city status, tourism officials said.
Tourist group Destination Colchester said the Roman settlement of Camulodunum was the first place in Britain to be granted the special legal status of Colonia.
Simon Taylor of Destination Colchester said: ‘It was seen as the equivalent of a modern town, and the Normans saw Colchester as having a similar status.
“Even now, visitors to Colchester often assume it is a town, so it’s fitting that our historic town is reclaiming its ancient status.”
He added: “In 2012, during Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, Destination Colchester compiled Colchester’s strongest town status application on behalf of the council and, with our blessing, this work has been continued to form the basis of the current offer.
“We are proud of our involvement and believe this bid demonstrates the value of working together on such ambitious projects.
“In addition to the official request, we and others had written to the government advocating for other towns that had shown a similar commitment to town status competitions, so we are interested to see that Milton Keynes and Wrexham also succeeded.
“Another outcome of the 2012 bid was Colchester’s claim as Britain’s first town, also later adopted by the council.
“We have always been careful to avoid claiming the city is Britain’s first city, so it will be an added pleasure to drop that caution and make the claim even stronger and bolder.”
In a poll launched on the Gazette’s website, 57% of 1,700 readers said they were satisfied with the news at the time of writing.
Seeking reaction on social media, many readers said the awarding of city status would prove to be a positive step.
Richard Goddard said: “This is great news for Colchester.
“For about 20 years it has been one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.
“It was originally a city, so it’s good news that it’s going back to being one. Now it should finally get some extra funding as a result.
Ann Hutchings said: “This will raise the profile and status of Colchester, which should generate more commercial and tourist interest.
“So, yes, no overnight access to a kitty, but it should boost the local economy.”
Juliette Maxam said: “Fantastic news. This should really give the borough a boost in terms of accessing more funding and lead to more investment in our new “town” center. It certainly worked for Chelmsford.
Mayor of Colchester Robert Davidson said: “On behalf of everyone in Colchester, I would like to thank Her Majesty for this wonderful honor in her Platinum Jubilee year. »
He added: “I would also like to pay tribute to all those who have supported Colchester’s bid, including Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst, and all those who have worked so hard to make city status a reality in this extraordinary year.
“We hope this wonderful announcement will provide new opportunities for local people and provide a bright future for generations to come.”
David King, elected leader of Colchester Council, said: “This is really great news. A defining moment in our Borough’s long history that will raise our national profile and attract the kinds of foreign investment that are only open to cities.
He added, “With city status, there are more opportunities to boost the local economy, create even greater social opportunities and promote our rich heritage and culture, for the benefit of all our residents.”
Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, said: “I am so delighted for Colchester.
2It is a marvelous city with many remarkable features: its long and ancient history, its garrison, home to the 16th Air Assault Brigade, a center for the arts with Firstsite and a vibrant, newly renovated Mercury Theater, as well as the internationally renowned University of Essex. .
“It has wonderful historic buildings including the castle set in the beautiful castle grounds.”
Colchester was one of only three places to submit bids to become towns on each of the five occasions when town status was available.