Live updates

Hastings culture bid goes international

Planners behind Hastings' bid to become the UK's 2017 City of Culture say they will work with partners overseas to recreate William, Duke of Normandy's journey to the Battle of Hastings.

It would coincide with a re-enactment of King Harold's march south from Stamford Bridge to meet the Norman duke.

We will work with our Norman Partners - with whom we already have a very strong working partnership - to recreate the journey of William, then Duke of Normandy, along the Norman and French coasts before setting out on its epic cross-channel invasion, almost 900 years before the D-Day landings and relying solely on oar and sail.

We believe that taking our culture to communities across England and France gives us a chance to be more than a local, regional or even national event, we will be a truly international festival, and one which will leave a tremendous legacy."

– Councillor Jeremy Birch, Hastings Borough Council leader

Councillor Birch added: "This is not just a 'one trick bid', we are planning a whole programme of events and activities throughout the year."

Town will re-create King's march

As part of its bid to become UK City of Culture 2017, Hastings would re-create the 19-day march King Harold from Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire to fight William of Normandy.

The last day of the march would coincide with the 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 2017.

The spectacular climax of our 2017 programme, the 1066 March, will be a showpiece spectacular linking the length of England and the breadth of France, in a 19-day cultural extravaganza. Hastings and 1066 Country will hit the road to bring the rest of the country and Northern France a chance to participate in the City of Culture 2017. The march will showcase all aspects of our culture as we recreate the original route of Harold’s army, from Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire to London, with opportunities for major events in both places."

– Councillor Jeremy Birch, Hastings Borough Council leader

Councillor Birch said the borough's bid bid emphasised the area's uniqueness and "fantastic community spirit".

He said: "It also makes the point that Hastings is still the country’s 19th most deprived district and parts of Bexhill also share a high level of deprivation, and that being the UK City of Culture would give us a unique opportunity to fundamentally improve the quality of life here."


Rival culture bid towns "absolute dumps"

Hastings Old Town Credit: Press Association

An Essex MP has angered people bidding for the title UK City of Culture by branding rival towns as "absolute dumps". David Amess, MP for Southend East is leading the bid for the accolade in Essex.

He's suggested that the other towns bidding for the City of Culture accolade are not up to scratch. But Hastings Council Leader Jeremy Birch insists his town's bid is serious and has invited David Amess to Hastings for a guided tour.

"I don't know when he last visited our town, indeed if he ever has. We can take him to the Jerwood Gallery and to the De la Warr," said Cllr Birch

"Perhaps a walk in the Country Park and then in the evening, we can listen to three piano concertos played by the competition finalists. But the coffee is on him! Hastings and Bexhill have every reason to bid for City of Culture status."