Charge will go on to get Portsmouth known as a cultural hub

Rob da Bank (crouching) in a publicity shot for Bestival
Rob da Bank (crouching) in a publicity shot for Bestival

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THE fight will go on for Portsmouth to be recognised as a cultural hub despite it losing out on a bid to be named UK City of Culture 2017.

The bid was made jointly by Portsmouth and Southampton’s local authorities at the end of April, one of 11 submissions from cities across the country.

But yesterday the bid fell at the first hurdle, after a panel of judges led by television produce Phil Redmond chose Hull, Swansea Bay, Dundee and Leicester to go on to the final stage.

Stephen Baily, the head of culture at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Obviously we are disappointed not to have been short-listed, but what this bid has shown is that we’re already on our way to becoming a region famed for its culture.’

He added that Portsmouth would continue to work with Southampton to drive up recognition of the region’s culture.

‘We’ve been overwhelmed by support and will continue to work on the exciting opportunities which have come about since we launched our intention to become a city of culture.’

The bid had been supported by Bestival organiser and world-famous DJ Rob da Bank, who was born in Portsmouth. He vowed to continue being an ambassador for the two cities’ culture.

He said: ‘I’m so disappointed that we didn’t make it through to the next round and gutted for everyone who worked so hard on a superb and influential bid.

‘I still feel Portsmouth and Southampton have an incredible journey ahead of them in terms of our growing culture across so many disciplines and I intend to stay firmly involved in their continued development.’

Londonderry is currently the first UK City of Culture, and has benefited hugely from having the title, including being chosen to host events like the Turner Prize.

The UK government created the title in an attempt to replicate the success of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

After revealing which cities would be invited to lodge a second, more detailed bid, Mr Redmond said: ‘It was incredibly difficult to decide on a short list as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change and offered innovative and interesting programmes.

‘In the end the panel thought the four short-listed cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and would not only deliver for their communities, but would also maintain the momentum created around the success of Derry-Londonderry.’