Lancashire’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 backed by council

Lancashire’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 backed by council

by Danielle Thompson (July 2020)

LANCASHIRE County Council has reaffirmed it's support to a bid for the whole county to be named the UK City of Culture in 2025.

At a meeting of the council's cabinet, members agreed to make a £620,000 contribution towards the bid, it's support team and programme development costs.

However, local Skelmersdale Councillor John Fillis believes the plan needs a “radical review” and better dialogue with local boroughs.

Previously the competition has only been contested by individual cities, but the Department of Culture Media and Sport has since indicated that a county-wide bid for Lancashire would be welcomed.

It would bring together all the towns and cities across the county, including West Lancashire, to form one virtual city.

Cllr Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “At a time of unprecedented change, progressing and winning this bid could form a key part of Lancashire's bounce-back from the Covid-19 crisis.

“My Cabinet colleagues and I are supporting this bid, which aims to produce an ambitious and inclusive cultural programme to integrate the urban areas, the coast and the countryside as a virtual city of 1.5 million inhabitants. This would connect the identities of Lancashire to reshape a better, creative and more sustainable way of living.

“It would help to drive cultural, social and digital skills development programmes, attract additional investment and visitors to our county, and raise the profile of Lancashire at a national and international level.”

The UK City of Culture title was created following the success of Glasgow and Liverpool as European Capitals of Culture in 1990 and 2008 respectively.

At present, three other cities have indicated their intention to bid in 2025, they are Bradford, Medway and Southampton.

Lancashire 2025 expects to present the initial application to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in April 2021.

Cllr Fillis is against the plan is its current format and believes it needs a wider consultation.

He said: “West Lancashire has no clear social, physical or cultural links with Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. Once again the Conservatives have just stuck West Lancashire hanging on the end as they have not got a clue about the culture or creativity of local people in West Lancashire and they care even less. We don’t want to be a part of some Punch and Judy show on steroids.

“We do support the principles of such a bid but these proposal need a radical review and engagement with the boroughs and communities right across Lancashire.”

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