However, can I express the dismay that many on Mersea Island will feel – and I am sure also in the Pyefleet villages of Peldon, Abberton, Langenhoe and Fingringhoe - that we too have been included in the new city of Colchester. A few weeks before the city’s inauguration ceremony I emailed the council’s chief executive to ask where the boundary between the new city of Colchester and the rest of Colchester borough would be. I was shocked to be told that the entire borough would be included within the new city boundary.
Mersea Island has a long and proud history of independence. We are nine miles south of Colchester with nothing but sea, saltmarsh, open countryside and small rural villages such as Peldon, Langenhoe and Abberton between us and Colchester. Many families have lived on the island not just for generations, but quite literally for centuries. Even in Roman times we were not part of the city of Colchester. When Mersea’s district council was merged with Colchester’s in the 1974 local government reorganisation it was a partnership between the rural areas and the town of Colchester. This will feel to many people more like a takeover.
As I have said, we do not wish to lessen the joy that some of our neighbours in Colchester may feel at becoming a city. But it does need to be said on behalf of those in Mersea and other nearby villages that the price we have been required to pay for that, the imposition of city status on our own rural communities, has been too high.
Dr Martin Parsons