Colchester became a City on 23rd November 2022

After the Lord Lieutenant had formally handed over the Letters Patent to the Mayor, marking the moment of elevation of Colchester to City Status, Cllr Darius Laws, Leader of the Conservative Group, addressed the City Council:

"This is a historic moment of which we can all be incredibly proud.

There many people to thank for this, obviously number one thanks to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Great – for bestowing us with this honour, there are many people sat in this room too numerous to list, you know who you are, I know who you are – I will single out the former Council Leader Paul Dundas tho because he indulged me when I put my hand up, when I was the Cabinet Member responsible for Heritage and Culture and I said we needed to put in a BID and go for this.  I know there was trepadation, 5thtime lucky….? But I knew we could do it.

When you are in the Council Chamber downstairs, look up at the wall with all the name variants of Colchester over 2000 years – you realise what a special place this is. The one name that has always stood out to me is Colonia Victrekensis – the City of the Victorious – now tonight isn’t the time for a debate about whether the Roman’s were invited here or if they invaded, but what is certain is that they came here, they came here first of all the places on this island – I believe they came here because of our sophisticated highly established society, our people, and naturally our assets. And today we can still boost to have physical assets and people in abundance, us as a people are kind, compassionate, entrepreniual and fun.

When I am undergound fertizlising the grass and trees of the Nayland graveyard in the future, it is my hope that maybe my children and yours will be helping in the next chapter of Colchester’s story as they might consider UNESCO World Heritage Status – I accept there is work to be done to maximise our heritage offering but we are moving in the right direction, we’ve lit up most of the Roman City Walls, we’ve getting on with regenerating Jumbo and we will soon unveil an original Roman Mosaic just off the High Street next summer.

When you are involved in a local authority you are acutely aware of that the number one priority of all citiziens is will my bins be emptied on time – we know this matter is sacrosanct. But it is also true that we as elected representatives must be braver, bolder, think big and lead on the issues which are in the interests of the greater good. 

Britains’ First Roman City becoming Britain’s Newest City on our watch is something I’m proud to have played a small part in and on behalf of the Conservative opposition group, the largest group in this place, I thank you Mr Mayor for your leadership in this and I thank the previous Council Mayor Cllr Robert Davidson who also played a huge role in making this dream become a reality. Thank you. "