Bids in for UK City of Culture

Four places in the South and South East have put their names forward to become the UK City of Culture in 2017.

Hastings and Bexhill's bid for Culture title - interview

Last week we told you that Canterbury and east Kent were bidding to be this year's UK City of Culture. Well they have competition - not least from other towns in the south east.

Southend-on-Sea's after the title too. Their pier, they tell us, is the envy of the country. And they have a lively arts and cultural scene - and have bid for city status in the past.

But also after the title is Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea. Well no-one is more pleased with this latest south coast bid than Jeremy Birch, the Hastings Council leader. Sangeeta asked him earlier what this could mean for Sussex?

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Portsmouth and Southampton Culture bids - full report

They have a history of rivalry - especially in football - but two neighbouring cities in the south are coming together to try to become the UK's city of culture.

The competition was set up by the Government after the success of the European Capital of Culture. So can Portsmouth and Southampton put their differences aside and come up with a winning bid?

Andrew Pate has been looking at what makes both cities good contenders and speaks to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP.

'The winner will be the most passionate' - Ed Vaizey on Culture bids

Four of the eleven areas bidding to become the UK City of Culture for 2017 are in our region.

Portsmouth and Southampton have launched a joint bid. As have Hastings and Bexhill in Sussex. Southend in Essex is also a contender.

While Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet have clubbed together for an East Kent entry. The shortlist will be announced in June. Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey MP told us what would make a winning bid.

Hastings aims for cultural heights

Hastings is one of several towns across the south applying to be UK City of Culture 2017.

The title is currently held by Derry, but 10 other towns and cities have put themselves forward for the 2017 designation - the next year for which it will be awarded.

This shows the league we believe the Hastings area is becoming part of. The Jerwood Gallery has now been open a year and has really helped to change our cultural status. We have a culture of festivals and processions to rival anywhere from Jack in the Green to the bonfire. The restoration of Hastings Pier will allow us to relive the culture of promenading of days gone by. And most recently we have the public exhibition of the two shortlisted entries for a major public art feature on Pelham roundabout and next weekend the increasingly significant international piano festival."

– Councillor Jeremy Birch, Hastings Council Leader

Councillor Birch added: " Not forgetting of course all that is on offer at the De La Warr just next door in Bexhill. The Hastings area is becoming a cultural beacon in the South East and nationally, and we have every justification aiming for the city of culture status in four years time."

The full bids for the 2017 competition must be received by the end of April, after which they will be assessed by an Independent Advisory Panel with the aim of announcing a shortlist in June. It's hoped the announcement of who has won will be made in Derry-Londonderry in November 2013.

Hastings hoping for culture success

Hastings council has submitted a bid to be named the UK City of Culture 2017.

Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch said: "The Hastings area is becoming a cultural beacon in the South East and nationally, and we have every justification aiming for the city of culture status in four years time. This town is on the way up; let the whole country recognise that."

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Legacy could help the South

In their year as European City of Culture, Liverpool received 9.7 million additional visitors to the city which resulted in over £735 million in additional visitor spend.

Meanwhile Derry-Londonderry hopes to have 2800 tourism jobs by 2020 as a legacy from their year.

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.”

Race is on for City of Culture

Those bidding for City of Culture status will be considered by an independent advisory panel.

It's hoped that the winning location will see a boost in visitors and future investment.

The panel will decide on a shortlist which will be announced in June.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: "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.”