PORTSMOUTH has a strong chance of being named the next UK City of Culture.
That’s the message from the city’s culture boss Councillor Linda Symes, who has welcomed the news that Portsmouth has risen from 30th to eighth in a list of the UK’s most cultural cities.
What we need is a bid that shows the whole city coming together to champion its cause. The more partnerships we make, the better the bid will be.Councillor Linda Symes
The list – which was put together by consumer advice website Totally Money – has provided the city with a boost as it prepares its bid for the highly-sought- after title in 2021.
Eleven other cities are in the running for the title, which could bring millions into the city.
Cllr Symes told The News: ‘This shows that we have a higher possibility than we did before and it is great news for us as we build up our bid.’
Bids to central government have to be submitted by April 28 and the council is currently acquiring partners across the city to assist in championing the city’s cultural worth.
The University of Portsmouth is the first to partner up and the council is approaching other key partners such as the Historic Dockyard.
Cllr Symes added: ‘What we need is a bid that shows the whole city coming together to champion its cause. The more partnerships we make, the better the bid will be.
‘I think we now have a strong chance when you think of the surge in cultural events that have come to the city in recent years, such as the America’s Cup, Victorious and Mutiny Festivals. These are three events that were not here just a few years ago.
‘We are working extremely hard to cover all bases on the bid as the title would bring huge benefits and be a big boost to the city.’
Totally Money lists the city as eighth out of 30. The list was formed by looking at tourist visits, the number of cultural locations and its rating across tourist websites.
Of the 11 to be bidding for the title, only Coventry joins Portsmouth on the list – in 24th place.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth Lib Dems, agreed that the city had a ‘good chance’ of obtaining the title, but urged caution when it came to spending public funds to get there.
He said: ‘It will cost a lot of money to get this title and further funds in the build-up to it and on the year itself.
‘We have got to make sure this is not another vanity project. We must weigh up about committing funds to this project or to some public services.’
The short list is announced in July, with the winner named in December.