Southend on Sea in Essex is hoping to be named as the UK City of Culture in 2017.
Eleven places from across the country have put their names forward for the title, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced today.
The full list of contenders is:
- East Kent (covering Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet)
- Hastings and Bexhill on Sea
- Portsmouth and Southampton
- Southend on Sea
- Swansea Bay (Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot)
Ed Vaizey said: “This is fantastic news and shows the appetite for the prestigious ‘City of Culture’ title is in healthy supply right across the length and breadth of the country.
"The competition brings together communities and creates economic and social benefits and I am pleased to see so many local authorities and different partners coming together. I wish all eleven the best of luck.”
All eleven places have until 30 April to submit their initial bids which will be considered by an independent advisory panel chaired by Phil Redmond. The panel will then decide on a shortlist which will be announced in June.
Phil Redmond, Chair of the independent advisory panel said: “The UK City of Culture can be a real catalyst for change and I’m delighted so many places have registered their interest in the competition for 2017.
"Together with the panel I’m looking forward to receiving some ambitious and dynamic bids that highlight the very best of local cultural talent, along with delivering a realistic programme that will appeal to as wide an audience as possible.”