Resident help to shape Portsmouth’s City of Culture bid

IDEAS From left, Mark Maguire, Stuart Crow, Rachel Goodall of the Red Sauce Theatre Company, Amanda Burgess from the  Workers' Educational Association, Clare Seek, and Michael Andrews discuss the bid
IDEAS From left, Mark Maguire, Stuart Crow, Rachel Goodall of the Red Sauce Theatre Company, Amanda Burgess from the Workers' Educational Association, Clare Seek, and Michael Andrews discuss the bid

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THE cultural strengths and weaknesses of Portsmouth were discussed to help put in a bid to become the UK City of Culture.

Around 35 people went to a meeting held in the Civic Offices yesterday and spoke of Portsmouth’s strengths, which included music, literature and maritime.

It comes as Portsmouth City Council is set to put a joint bid with Southampton for the title in 2017.

If successful, it will bring in investment and international performers.

Janet Myers, of Prince Albert Road, Eastney, said: ‘The meeting was an uplifting experience and highlighted there’s more going on in the city than we realise.

‘The meeting was a valuable exercise in looking at what we have, and highlighting other steps we can take to make the bid happen.’

Areas people felt needed improving was doing more for the elderly and people with learning difficulties, and addressing a north/south divide of the city.

Sam Cox, the poet laureate for Portsmouth, is leading the bid.

She said: ‘It was great to hear what the people of Portsmouth had to say, and it was a great turnout.

‘Events like this have been happening in Southampton, and we’ll work together to put forward a bid.’

Stuart Crow, 38, of Clarendon Road, Southsea, wants to know how the link will work with Southampton.

He said: ‘I was sceptical about the link between Portsmouth and Southampton, and I don’t think we have answered that question.

‘We did remind ourselves about the fantastic cultural and artistic set-up we have in the city, and think we will be able to put together a strong bid.

‘There has to be some legacy and regeneration from this.’

The council has until April 30 to file its application and will find out if it makes the short list in June.

If it gets that far, then council officers will hold workshops with minority groups and on topics such as urban culture and art to find out what people want.

The winner is announced in December this year.

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