Southend’s candidacy for city status

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SOUTHEND’s council cabinet will discuss the submission of an application for city status at its meeting on Tuesday, September 14.

The report will recommend that an offer be submitted as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Her Majesty The Queen will be the first British monarch to reach the throne of 70 years, and the Platinum Jubilee celebrations will reflect Her Majesty’s reign and its impact on the UK and the world since 1952.

As part of these celebrations, there will be a competition for civic honors, including a competition for city status.

Coun Ian Gilbert, Head of Council, said: “Southend is a great place and has a lot to offer as a ‘city by the sea’, with a history and heritage, a thriving arts and cultural community, the most the world’s longest pleasure pier and a vibrant community, voluntary and commercial sector.

“Our 2050 ambition also defines an aspiration to be a city, keeping in mind what makes Southend special, while paving the way for the growth of a sustainable and inclusive city. The proposal to apply for city status is supported by the two local deputies and the council wishes to support and submit this candidacy on behalf of the community.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, who campaigned for a number of years for Southend Town status, recently convened a committee, made up of stakeholders from the voluntary, business, creative and social sectors. education across Southend, ready to support the preparation of The App. A broader and broader engagement would take place in the context of the preparation of the offer.

Sir David said: “I am absolutely delighted that the local authority cabinet has the request for city status on the agenda for its September 14 meeting.

“I also welcome the positive remarks contained in the recommendations. It is encouraging that the local authority recognizes the tangible benefits that Southend becoming a city can bring. I thank the local authority and its agents for their careful consideration of this matter.

“My only interest in this application from the start is that, if it succeeds, I know the benefits it will bring to residents. I am also happy that with the volunteer committee, which has been formed, they can help and support the agents with the request. I am aware that such an application would be done at minimal cost.

Philip Miller, president of Stockvale, which owns Adventure Island, Sealife Adventure and other companies, also backed the plans.

He said: “Gaining city status will be a feather in the city’s hat for sure. It would certainly give us the right to brag about our neighbors.

“One would also hope that the prestige of being the best dog in the area might just be the catalyst to induce some civic pride in our city.”

Chelmsford became Essex’s first town in 2012. It has seen huge investments since gaining town status, including the construction of large-scale housing estates, new commercial development and plans for a second station.

Carole Mulroney, councilor responsible for the environment, culture, tourism and town planning, believes it could bring similar benefits. She said: “You only have to look at Chelmsford to see how this status has breathed new life into there.

“Obviously we’re a different kind of place than Chelmsford and we have to put together an offer, but hopefully recreation and tourism will be front and center. August was the best month ever on the pier and that was before we even had the new trains.

“We have so much to do. The arts festival is going wonderfully, it was a great success. Then we have the Halloween event and the ladies’ bike ride.

Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already backed plans. In December 2019 Sir David Amess said: “We got the Prime Minister to say that Southend is going to become a city and that it will become a city.”

The offer will include a brief summary of the distinct identity of the place; including civic pride; culture, heritage, history and traditions, economic activity, public green spaces, sports and leisure facilities and shops, and the support of local communities for the associative sector.

The submission deadline is December 8 at 4:00 p.m. with the results announced in 2022. The guidelines do not indicate how many places can be awarded city status in the competition.

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