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Booklet ignites furious row

PUBLISHED: 10:40 16 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

A FURIOUS row about the relative merits of Ipswich and Colchester has broken out in cyberspace.

An E-mail flare-up began as officials decided to send 40,000 of its promotional shopping brochures to Ipswich households in "retaliation" for a similar booklet sent out by the Suffolk town to Colchester addresses.

A FURIOUS row about the relative merits of Ipswich and Colchester has broken out in cyberspace.

An E-mail flare-up began as officials decided to send 40,000 of its promotional shopping brochures to Ipswich households in "retaliation" for a similar booklet sent out by the Suffolk town to Colchester addresses.

And it was further heated when Tim Young, Labour Group leader in Colchester, accused Liberal Democrat Mayor Mike Hogg of telling an "anti-Ipswich" joke at a civic function.

Now council leader Bill Frame has accused Mr Young of running down Colchester in favour of Ipswich and told him to "move 30 miles up the A12 if you like them so much."

The row follows a confidential E-mail sent by the council's executive director Graham White to political leaders at the town hall in which he mentioned receiving one of the Ipswich promotional leaflets.

Mr White wrote that he "was a little miffed" to receive the Ipswich brochure, published by the Ipswich Partnership, and hoped that Colchester's own brochure "will be of sufficient quality to lure the residents of Ipswich to our town."

But Mr Young, criticised in the past for supporting Ipswich Town FC over Colchester United, responded angrily to the tone of the E-mail, saying the "anti-Ipswich rhetoric" came across as "envy".

Mr Frame then sent an E-mail saying he was "fed up" with Mr Young running down Colchester in favour of Ipswich, and accused him of promoting the Suffolk town over the borough.

The council leader hit out at Mr Young again. "I don't expect a political group leader in Colchester to tell us that Ipswich is wonderful and Colchester is rubbish," he said.

"I haven't been to Ipswich recently but I have nothing against it. I'm sure the people of Ipswich feel exactly the same about their town.

"However, Tim's approach to these things is not helpful to portraying Colchester as the leading town in the East of England, which is what all group leaders have signed up for as part of our vision for the future."

Mr Young said: "I realise we are in healthy competition with Ipswich but resorting to insults and stoking up these sorts of rows is counterproductive.

"I want to make it quite clear I'll be doing my Christmas shopping in Colchester and I want Colchester to be a success, but there are ways and means of doing that."

Ipswich Borough Council officials and those responsible for the controversial brochure have refused to be drawn into a war of words with their Colchester counterparts.

Peter Gardiner, leader of the council, said: "What I would do is defend the Ipswich Partnership. Clearly they saw a way of getting their message out to people."

He added that he did not understand the Colchester councillors' strong feelings on the issue and felt no ill feeling towards the Essex town's Mayor for allegedly making a joke about the Suffolk town.

"Are they scared that they cannot compete? I would have no ill feeling if there was a leaflet put through my door asking me to shop in Colchester and I would be quite happy to take Mr Hogg around Ipswich," he said.

"You only have to look at Ipswich to see that Christmas shopping is well under way and anything like a brochure from Colchester seems too little too late."

Ipswich town centre manager John Stebbings, a member of the Ipswich Partnership, said: "We would rather be seen to work with Colchester to keep people shopping in traditional town centres than the bigger, out of town places like Bluewater and Lakeside.

"They obviously this year have not managed to get a co-ordinated campaign together to put forward the advantages of going to Colchester."

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