County’s £620k to back City of Cul­ture ef­forts

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ

COUNTY coun­cil chiefs have com­mit­ted £620,000 to sup­port a bid for Lan­cashire to be named UK City of Cul­ture in 2025.

The cash-strapped coun­cil says the money is its con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the bid, its sup­port team and pro­gramme de­vel­op­ment cost and ar­gued that the hon­our could be in­te­gral to the county’s re­cov­ery from the coro­n­avirus cri­sis.

The com­pe­ti­tion has pre­vi­ously 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 mean that all the county’s towns and cities would be united to form one vir­tual city.

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, and bosses at Lan­cashire County Coun­cil (LCC) say that just bid­ding has al­ready pushed cities to “think more strate­gi­cally about their cul­tural of­fer, iden­tity and her­itage within a na­tional con­text”.

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.”

In 2017, Hull at­tracted six mil­lion vis­i­tors, gen­er­ated 800 new jobs and boosted the lo­cal econ­omy by £60m. Tourism in Hull for that year also ex­ceeded £300m.

The in­creased in­vest­ment that bid­ding cities gain from bod­ies in­clud­ing the Depart­ment for Cul­ture Me­dia and Sport, Arts Coun­cil, Na­tional Her­itage Lot­tery Fund and the BBC, along with in­creased me­dia at­ten­tion, is of­ten cited as one of the main ben­e­fits of bid­ding for UK City of Cul­ture sta­tus and other cul­tural ti­tles.

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

To date, the bid de­vel­op­ment has been funded by the Lan­cashire En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship, Lan­cashire County Coun­cil, Cre­ative Lan­cashire, Mar­ket­ing Lan­cashire and the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Lan­cashire (UCLan).

It is also en­dorsed by all of Lan­cashire’s 15 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

County Cllr Michael Green

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