While I’ve spoken at many Council meetings, last night was the first time in my Council career that I proposed a motion to Council which is a wholly different experience. I tried to keep away from politics in my speech and centred it on four main points:
Colchester’s historic status as Britain’s first city and it’s importance as part of our Roman heritage. People in Colchester are very proud of our history and heritage and becoming a city would promote that and emphasise it.
Colchester’s current status as an important regional centre with a dynamic and creative population, great cultural facilities, a top rank University and an important garrison.
Why having a community-led bid is so important. This isn’t about self-aggrandizement by the Council, this is about the people standing up for themselves, and that concept of an informed and active civitas goes right back to the Roman concept of a city.
What city status would mean for us: Putting us on the national stage by bidding with the potential for international recognition for Colchester if we’re chosen in 2012, highlighting our importance and potential to tourists and businesses.
There was a lengthy debate – one of the longest I’ve known in my time as a Councillor – and some very good points were made by a number of councillors from all sides. In the end, though, the vote was in favour of proceeding with a bid – put together by the community through Destination Colchester, without cost to the Council – by 26 votes to 19. Which means I now have a 100% record in presenting things to full Council.