RESIDENTS could be asked to get more involved in helping to shape Colchester's future heritage policy after the town's new strapline was confirmed.

After a call in from five Conservative councillors, Colchester Council's scrutiny panel asked the cabinet to explain its decision to change the tagline from Oldest Recorded Town to Britain's First City without first consulting residents.

At a meeting on Wednesday, cabinet members debated the issue again admitting it had not been explained correctly the first time round.

Martin Goss, councillor responsible for waste, sustainability and infrastructure, suggested reaching out to the public going forward.

He said: "I think what we can do now is bring the public on the journey of Colchester's history by asking them how they would like us to tell the story.

"I think it would be great if we work with the public to get their help. That is consultation and I think we can do that and get ideas together to go forward."

Mr Goss hit back at claims in the original call-in motion the strapline change had been decided a long time ago.

He said a set of £6,000 signs bearing "Britain's 1st City" were approved as part of Gerard Oxford's mayoral legacy more than a year ago.

"They were agreed and funded and the first one will be unveiled on Friday because of how long it has taken to get through planning and highways considerations," he said.

"There has been a long and arduous process which started before I sat in this chair to get this moving.

"We have not spend any money on the strapline change."

Portfolio holder Tim Young admitted the authority could have handled the decision better but said he was fully behind the change in tagline.

He said: "I do believe that it is the right strapline because it is historically and factually correct whilst we cannot make that claim about Britain's Oldest Recorded Town. It has already got people asking about Colchester."

Leader Mark Cory said the town's coalition was focused on celebrating Colchester's heritage, which was shown by the creation of the heritage task and finish group.

He said: "I was happy to ask Darius Laws to chair that group and it was the group's decision to change the tagline.

"That is something we accepted and that is when they did consultation and brought in experts.

"We did in part follow what the group said and we took the essence of what they asked for in our decision."

The heritage task and finish group chose Britain's First Roman City and More as their preferred option for the rebrand.

Colchester's High Steward Sir Bob Russell praised the change.

He said: "We have to reclaim our status as the premier part of Essex. We can do it legitimately because we were Britain's first city.

"I never dreamed that anybody could possibly object to promoting Colchester in such as positive way."