THE row over Colchester’s new strapline has intensified after opposition councillors referred the decision to the council’s scrutiny panel.

Lewis Barber (Lexden and Braiswick) was one of five Conservative councillors to sign the call-in request.

He said: “We want people to have the opportunity to have their say on the Cabinet’s decision to change Colchester’s strap line from ‘Oldest Recorded Town’ to ‘Britain’s First City’.

“We have referred the decision to scrutiny panel to ensure a public meeting will take place and so any member of the public can attend and voice their opinion.”

He added: “Our bottom line is that a public consultation is necessary for an issue so important to the identity of the town.”

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The call-in process can only be used when councillors believe procedural rules have been breached and a list of reasons must be submitted.

Mr Barber said the opposition believe several key rules were broken over the cabinet’s decision.

He said: “One concern we have with the decision is that there is no evidence a change was needed and as to whether this was an appropriate use of taxpayer money.

“We are further concerned that the Council has failed to take on board councillor Darius Laws and the heritage committee’s recommendation for a public consultation on any changes and that the decision appears pre-determined.”

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Once before the scrutiny panel, the decision could be confirmed, referred to business and culture boss Tim Young or referred to full council.

Mr Young said the council was still firmly behind the change in strapline.

He said: “I think this is a party political charade by the Conservatives and it is wasting council time and money.”