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 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.
More top news
Rain will arrive through the early hours for a wet start to Monday. It will eventually brighten up by the afternoon.
Rain on the way tonight, then a wet start to Monday, but it will brighten up through the day with sunny spells for the afternoon.
One of nine dogs dumped on the streets of Winchester, unable to see or stand properly, is fighting for its life.