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13 Mar 2017

Portsmouth could be UK culture capital in five years’ time

A bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2021 could be on the cards, with Portsmouth City Council registering its interest to hold the much coveted title.

The Great Waterfront City narrowly missed out to Hull, the current holder, when bids were submitted in 2013. Portsmouth, along with eleven other cities, has expressed an early interest in being considered.

Speaking to The News, Linda Symes the council’s cabinet member for culture said: ‘Portsmouth has a diverse and thriving cultural sector with the talent to match anywhere else in the country. So far we have simply registered our interest in being the UK City of Culture for 2021 and still have to develop plans around what we might do if we were successful. But I’m confident we can come up with some exciting ideas and present a compelling case to the government.’

Hull is currently experiencing a tourist boom, and there is no doubt becoming the UK City of Culture could work wonders for Portsmouth’s economy, with Portsmouth International Port at the heart of the action with its excellent transport links.

Mike Sellers, Port Director at Portsmouth International Port, said “If Portsmouth becomes the UK City of Culture in 2017 it would make the city even more attractive to visiting cruise liners, as well as ferry passengers arriving from France, Spain and the Channel Islands. We already have world class attractions on our doorstep. A year long programme of arts and other cultural events really would be the icing on the cake.”

The News reports that all bids have to be submitted by April with a final shortlist announced in July. The winner will then be picked in December. The Heritage Lottery Fund has committed £3m to the holder of the title from 2021 onwards to boost local heritage. To unlock the funds the successful bidder will need to demonstrate their programme is underpinned by heritage and builds on existing investment.