The council’s cabinet will discuss the submission of a city status bid at its meeting next week. (Cabinet, item 14, Tuesday 14 September).
The report will recommend that a bid is submitted as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Her Majesty The Queen will be the first British monarch to have reached 70 years on the throne, and the Platinum Jubilee celebrations will reflect on Her Majesty’s reign, and her impact on the UK and the world since 1952. As part of these celebrations, there will be a civic honours competition, including a competition for city status.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, says: “Southend-on-Sea is a great place and has much to offer as an official ‘city by the sea’, with history and heritage, a thriving arts and cultural community, the world’s longest pleasure pier and a can-do community, voluntary and business sector.
“Our 2050 ambition also sets out an aspiration to be a city – keeping in sight what makes Southend special while leading the way in how to grow a sustainable, inclusive city.
“The proposal to apply for city status is supported by both local MP’s and the council is keen to support and enter this bid on behalf of the community.”
Sir David Amess, Member of Parliament for Southend West has recently convened a committee, consisting of stakeholders from voluntary, business, creative and education sectors across Southend-on-Sea, ready to support preparation of the application. Further and wide-ranging engagement would take place as part of the preparation of the bid.
Sir David says: “I am absolutely delighted that the local authority’s cabinet have the application for city status on the agenda of their meeting of 14 September. I am further pleased by the positive remarks contained in the recommendations. It is heartening that the local authority recognises the tangible benefits which Southend becoming a city can bring. I thank the local authority and its officers for their careful consideration of this matter.
“My only interest in this application from the outset is that, if it is successful, I know the benefits which it will bring for local residents. I am further pleased that with the committee of volunteers which has been assembled, they can help and support officers with the application. I am mindful that such an application would be done with minimal cost.”
The bid will include a short summary of the place’s distinct identity; including civic pride; culture, heritage, history and traditions, economic activity, public green spaces, sport and leisure facilities and shopping areas, and local authority support for the voluntary sector.
The deadline for submission is 8th December 2021 at 4pm with results announced in 2022. The guidance does not state how many places may be awarded city status as part of the competition.