CULTURE secretary Maria Miller said people shouldn’t feel disheartened about Portsmouth and Southampton’s failure to make the UK City of Culture shortlist.
Mrs Miller said on a visit to Portsmouth there were a lot of good applications and culture is already strong in both cities.
As previously reported in The News, the bid to get the prestigious title in 2017 fell at the first hurdle after a panel of judges led by television producer Phil Redmond chose Hull, Swansea Bay, Dundee and Leicester to go on to the final stage.
Talking outside Action Stations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Mrs Miller said: ‘Portsmouth was very important in the cultural city debate and I would like to applaud how Portsmouth and Southampton worked together on the bid they put together.
‘It’s disappointing that the two cities weren’t put forward, but I think bringing these them together has been of real benefit.
‘The UK City of Culture programme is hugely popular. Many different cities are competing strongly for what has become a prestigious event.
‘It’s disappointing but we know they are great cities and that they add to our regional life. The investment that is already going into culture and the arts in Portsmouth is immense. Local people know that.’