A BOLD new campaign is under way to achieve the long-held dream of city status for Southend which would “turbo boost” the town’s economy and encourage investment.

Ministers have announced a competition for towns across the UK to become cities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

Sir David Amess, Tory MP for Southend West, has called for Southend to become a city for years, regularly banging the drum for the town in the Commons.

James Duddridge, Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, says being named as a city would bring endless benefits to the borough.

He said: “I absolutely support Sir David Amess’ campaign for Southend to become a city.

“In fact, I could not think of a better way to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee than for Southend to be awarded city status.

“A successful bid would turbo charge our economy and bring new investment to our area – putting Southend firmly on the map, both across the country and around the world.”


The city status competition comes as campaigners, business bosses and residents push for the borough to be named as the UK’s City of Culture Sir David added: “I am absolutely delighted that the competition has now been launched.

“As we all know, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a unique event and the launch of this competition is so very fitting.

“I very much hope that we will bid for city status, as the benefits are enormous.

“If you speak to towns that have become a city they will tell you at first-hand what the benefits are.

“Not only does it raise people’s self-esteem in the place where they live, but it attracts desperately needed investment.”

The MP added that throughout Southend there are many areas which would benefit from regeneration, and that it would be an opportunity to celebrate the wealth of culture the borough has.Bosses at Southend’s Business Improvement District added that winning city status would be a huge boost to businesses as it puts Southend’s name on the map, as well as creating more investment opportunities.

A spokesman for Southend BID said: “’We encourage the application; it would be a great opportunity to promote all that Southend has to offer to a wider audience of visitors.

“We have miles of blue flag beaches, a number of green flag parks, the purple flag award for our night-time economy and hundreds of leisure facilities, events, hospitality and retail businesses, cultural activities and more for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“We have a rich heritage as a seaside town and are constantly developing with a diverse population.

“Obtaining a city status would be a great boost for the local economy and presents more opportunities for investment going forward if we were to secure it.”