Swansea Bay named on shortlist for UK City of Culture 2017
Region including Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Carmarmarthenshire, joins Dundee, Hull and Leicester on shortlist
Swansea Bay has been shortlisted to be named UK City of Culture 2017, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport has announced.
Swansea Bay, which includes Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Carmarthenshire, joins Dundee, Hull and Leicester on the shortlist.
One bookmaker, William Hill, now ranks the Welsh bid as favourite.
There were 11 contenders in total on the long list before it was whittled down to four at 11am today.
Meryl Gravell, Carmarthenshire’s executive board member for regeneration, said: “It would be wonderful news for the region if we were to win the bid.
“West is certainly best when it comes to culture, and Carmarthenshire offers not only fantastic areas of natural beauty, but also a whole variety of cultural attractions including new and historic theatres.
“We are proud of all we have to offer here in Carmarthenshire, and we would be pleased to welcome new and frequent visitors who would be attracted to the county if it were part of the winning cultural region.”
Those who missed out included Chester, East Kent, Aberdeen, Portsmouth and Southampton, Plymouth, Hastings and Bexhill on Sea and Southend on Sea
Ali Thomas, Neath Port Talbot council’s leader, said: “Neath Port Talbot alone can boast a galaxy of stars familiar to audiences around the globe and the wider Swansea Bay area shares a fine tradition of punching above its weight within the world of culture and the arts.”
The bids were shortlisted by an independent panel chaired by Phil Redmond, creator of popular TV series including Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks.
Phil Redmond said: “It was incredibly difficult to decide on a shortlist as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change and offered innovative and interesting programmes.
“In the end the panel thought the four short listed cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and would not only deliver for their communities, but would also maintain the momentum created around the success of previous City of Culture Derry-Londonderry.
“I want to thank all eleven cities for the time and commitment they have put in to their bids and look forward to hearing more from Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay later on in the year.”
The announcement today was made by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey who said: “I want to congratulate the four shortlisted cities who have made it this far, and indeed all eleven cities who put time and great effort into submitting bids.
“The events in Derry-Londonderry over recent weeks highlight just how much of an impact being ‘City of Culture’ can have.
“It brings together communities, encourages economic growth, and inspires social change and the shortlisted cities should be very proud of the bids they have put together so far.”
The four shortlisted cities will now be invited to submit a final bid by the end of September. The panel will then meet again to decide a winner which will be announced in November.