If successful in its bid, part of the 2025 title includes attracting millions of pounds in additional investment to help boost regeneration, as well as hundreds of events and growth for local tourism.
Arts minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, said: ‘The UK City of Culture competition shows the important role that culture can play in levelling up our towns, cities and rural communities - bringing investment, great events, thousands of tourists, and opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds.
‘We have seen a huge positive impact in this year’s host city, Coventry, with millions of pounds in investment and thousands of visitors.
‘This has been a record year for bids, which is great to see. Congratulations to the four shortlisted places - I wish them all the best of luck.’
The four locations were approved by culture secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice made to the government by a panel of experts led by Sir Phil Redmond.
Finalists were whittled down from a record twenty initial bids to eight outstanding longlist applications which also included Cornwall, Derby, Stirling and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.
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All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, as well as how they would use culture to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sir Phil Redmond, chairman of the City of Culture expert advisory panel, said: ‘Culture can act as a catalyst for community engagement, civic cohesion and a driver for economic and social change as previously seen not just in Derry-Londonderry (2013), Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021), but all those other places who went on a journey to develop their own cultural strategy.
‘Simply taking part has proved a catalyst in itself. We have had a great longlist to select from, which made the shortlisting difficult, but I am now looking forward to visiting each of the shortlisted places with the panel to witness culture’s catalytic effect in action.’