Southend News Network can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that local government officials in Southend are about to launch an audacious legal bid to get the town recognised as a city – chiefs have made it clear that this is a ‘last resort’ after many years of failed attempts through the usual official channels. According to documents that have been leaked to our Chief Reporter, a legal petition has been submitted to the High Court in London to get the City qualification criteria changed from ‘having a cathedral’ to ‘having an airport,’ and everyone involved with the plans is optimistic about the future of the so-called ‘City of Southend.’

Nigel Nougat is head of the City and Airport On Sea Initiative, and he said: ‘When Chelmsford became a city, we all thought that this was a ridiculously unfair decision – they don’t even have an airport up there! Why should it be necessary to have a cathedral in this day and age anyway? Religion isn’t the money spinner that it used to be, and the rate of new cathedral construction in the UK has slowed down considerably in recent years to the point where Southend is more likely to get a twentieth Tesco Express than a large-scale hub of Christian worship. We have prepared an incredibly compelling legal argument for the High Court, and we cannot possibly see how this request could be refused.’

Mr Nougat added: ‘We already have a seafront stretch of land called City Beach, and if we are denied at this stage we will make it perfectly clear that that facility will be too expensive to rename. As a backup plan, we have also instructed the board of Southend United to submit documents to The Football League about a name change to Southend City Football Club, but we are hoping that it won’t come to that – SCFC is already an acronym that is associated with utter stupidity on every level in the world of football.’

In a late development, we can confirm that Southend’s legal arguments have been upheld, and having an airport inside a town’s boundary will bring the status of ‘City’ with immediate effect. Therefore, Southend News Network would like to be the first to congratulate the people of the City of Rochford, and plans for a new airport on the site of the Fossetts Farm development have already been submitted to Southend Borough Council.