COLCHESTER’S council leader has said the town will still bid for city status, after the title was awarded to Southend in honour of MP Sir David Amess.

The coastal town will be granted city status by the Queen in her Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year in a tribute to Sir David who was fatally stabbed in a church on Friday.

Questions have since been raised as to whether this will affect Colchester Council’s own ambitions to become a city, however, leader Paul Dundas said it will be pushing on.

He added Monday night’s announcement Southend would be granted the title was a “touching” tribute to Sir David.

“In light of Friday’s news, had Southend not been awarded city status then I think we would’ve had to have given serious consideration as to whether we continued with Colchester’s bid,” said Mr Dundas.

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“We wouldn’t have wanted to take any focus away from their bid or lessened their chances.

“Now, however, following this great news, we see no reason not to proceed.

“We are really pleased to be launching this bid and think we have a really good, strong case.

“The Government criteria states all bids are judged on their own merit and looked at in isolation.

“It’s not a competition and, in theory, 20 towns could bid and all of them could be accepted.”

Last week, Colchester Council’s Labour Group leader Adam Fox told the council “not enough had yet been done” to engage with the public and ensure they supported the bid.

He added residents “must be officially consulted” before going ahead. However, Mr Dundas said work is being done to ensure as many parties as possible help to shape the plans.

“Most businesses we have spoken to have been nothing but positive about it,” he said. “We have tried to consult residents and there have been mixed reviews.

“What I would say is Colchester has bid on every occasion when the opportunity has arisen for the past 44 years.

“We believe the reasons we have bid in the past still apply now, and more.

“Some people will say we aren’t big enough as a town but look at St Albans; they’re a city and we have a larger population.

“We think there is room in Essex for three cities, with Southend, Chelmsford and us.

“All the reasons we have are good and I know Colchester has to apply.”