HUNDREDS of readers have reacted to Colchester being ranked as “one of the worst cities” for a festive night out, with some branding the findings "a load of old nonsense". 

The rating comes after research from experts at online casino looked into the ten worst places across the country to venture out this holiday season.

The study was based on the number of bars, clubs and pubs in each area, the average cost of a pint, the average cost of a takeaway and safety scores for walking alone at night.

Colchester was ranked the fifth worst city for nightlife with average pint costing £4 and a McDonald's meal £8.

Gazette: Clubbing: partygoers at ATIK nightclub in Colchester which is now called TrilogyClubbing: partygoers at ATIK nightclub in Colchester which is now called Trilogy (Image: Public)

The city was also given a low safety score of 37 out of 100, according to people who have visited.

As a result, the overall score given to Colchester was just 41.53 out of 100, despite being given Purple Flag accreditation just weeks ago, which celebrates the best city centres.

Gazette readers and local dignitaries have now reacted to the study.

Martin Goss, Colchester councillor, said: “What an absolute load of old nonsense.”

“Reports denigrating Colchester help no-one including important businesses like yours.

"I do agree there are issues like any town or city but not as this alleged research flags up.”

Mr Goss' stance sparked a debate with resident Richard Taylor.

Gazette: Councillor: Colchester councillor Martin GossCouncillor: Colchester councillor Martin Goss (Image: NQ)

He said: “It may be a nonsense report, but look at all the comments from people that actually live in Colchester.

“There are some great venues in Colchester but clearly there are issues and the people of Colchester are very vocal on this matter.”

Many defended the city, however.

Raymond McCarthy, who classed himself as “relatively new to Colchester”, said: “My biggest regret moving here is not doing it sooner. A night out in Colchester is whatever you make it.

“Being relatively new to Colchester, and coming from Epsom in Surrey, I find it incredible the amount of negativity there is about a city which offers so much in the way history, art, shopping, restaurants and nightlife.

“Some people choose to only see the bad things around, others the good things. Colchester is thriving with small independent businesses."

Stephen Dobbs, meanwhile, is the organiser of the popular 12 Pubs Of Christmas event in Colchester, which raises money for charity as punters tour pubs and bars in the city. 

“I’ve been running 12 Pubs Of Christmas in Colchester for 11 years now and it’s one of the best nights of the year," he said. 

Some, however, agreed with the research. 

Steve Mann said: “Never go into town in the evening. Underlying sense of insecurity so never feel 100 percent safe out and about then.”

Echoing his views, Teresa Ryder said: “Sadly, I 100 per cent agree.”

Michael Joseph also believes the findings mirror the reality of a night out in Colchester over Christmas. 

He said: “I agree. I just won't go to Colchester anymore for a night out. It's really rough and getting there and back again is a nightmare.”