Competing areas for the UK City of Culture title are revealed

CELEBRATION Charles Dickens birthday is celebrated by the laying of a wreath at his birthplace in Portsmouth. Rosalinda Hardiman of the City Museum and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Frank Jonas. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13334-1)
CELEBRATION Charles Dickens birthday is celebrated by the laying of a wreath at his birthplace in Portsmouth. Rosalinda Hardiman of the City Museum and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Frank Jonas. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13334-1)

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The full list of 11 cities and areas vying to be crowed the UK’s City of Culture in 2017 have been revealed.

As reported in The News last week, Portsmouth and Southampton have put their names forward jointly to be considered.

This morning the Department of Culture, Media and Sport revealed the full list of competing areas.

They are: Aberdeen; Chester; Dundee; East Kent (covering Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet); Hastings and Bexhill on Sea; Hull; Leicester; Plymouth; Portsmouth and Southampton; Southend on Sea; and Swansea Bay (covering Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath, and Port Talbot).

All the bids have to be completed and lodged by April 30 to an independent advisory panel, headed by Phil Redmond.

The panel will draw up a short list, announced in June.

Then a second round of proposals have to be sent in, and the winner will be announced in November.

Council director of regeneration Kathy Wadsworth said: ‘We’ve got two months to put in a good bid, and it needs to be a bid that is put in jointly by us and by the private sector working with us.

‘I think we’ve got a good chance, and winning this really would change people’s perception of Portsmouth.

‘The problem is going to be what to focus on, because we’ve got so much.

‘Are we a literary city, or is it about Victory and our other ships?’

Culture minister Ed Vaizey praised the number of cities vying to follow in Londonderry’s footsteps, which is the UK’s City of Culture this year.

He said: ‘This is fantastic news and shows the appetite for the prestigious City of Culture title is in healthy supply right across the length and breadth of the country.

‘The competition brings together communities and creates economic and social benefits and I am pleased to see so many local authorities and different partners coming together.

‘I wish all 11 the best of luck.’