Southend in bid for city status

Southend is in a prime position to become the UK’s official “City by the Sea” with a bold campaign set to be launched to see the town achieve the long-held dream of city status.

A competition for city status will celebrate the Queen becoming the first British monarch to have reached 70 years on the throne.

On countless occasions, Southend West MP, Sir David Amess, has called for Southend to be named as a city in the House of Commons.

Now, Southend Council is set to decide on an application at a cabinet meeting next week.

It is hoped city status would turbo charge the town’s economy and encourage future investment, with the town’s pier, tourism prospects, and thriving arts and culture community highlighted as reasons why Southend stands out from the rest.

Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “Southend is a great place and has much to offer as an official “city by the sea”, with a thriving arts and cultural community, the world’s longest pleasure pier and a can-do community, voluntary and business sector.

“Our 2050 ambition also sets out an aspiration to be a city – keeping in sight what makes Southend special while leading the way in how to grow a sustainable, inclusive city.

“The proposal to apply for city status is supported by both local MP’s and the council is keen to support and enter this bid on behalf of the community.”

Southend has previously been branded a sleeping giant, ready made to become a city.

The grave of the Prittlewell Prince, seven miles of glorious beaches, a thriving airport and an Essex University campus catering for thousands of students are just a handful of reasons the town should win city status.

Each year Southend welcomes 6.4 million tourists, with numerous events events including Southend Shakedown, Southend Carnival, Village Green and the Estuary Festival.

Sir David has recently convened a committee, consisting of stakeholders from voluntary, business, creative and education sectors across Southend, ready to support preparation of the application.

Sir David said: “ I am absolutely delighted that the local authority’s cabinet have the application for city status on the agenda of their meeting of September 14.

“I am further pleased by the positive remarks contained in the recommendations.

“It is heartening that the local authority recognises the tangible benefits which Southend becoming a city can bring.

“I thank the local authority and its officers for their careful consideration of this matter.

“My only interest in this application from the outset is that, if it is successful, I know the benefits which it will bring for local residents.

“I am further pleased that with the committee of volunteers which has been assembled, they can help and support officers with the application. I am mindful that such an application would be done with minimal cost.”

The deadline for submission is December 8 at 4pm.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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