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Canterbury considers UK City of Culture bid

By Gerry Warren

The accolade brings huge economic and cultural benefits to the recipient – but also involves significant time and cost to make an application.

Canterbury previously lost out to Hull as part of an east Kent-wide entry for 2017, but could decide to again pursue the coveted title.

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Canterbury is bidding to becoming the UK City of Culture 2025

Canterbury is bidding to becoming the UK City of Culture 2025

It follows a proposal lodged by Labour councillors Simon Warley and Alan Baldock calling on the council to develop further cultural opportunities in preparation to make a "credible and attractive" bid for 2025.

It has resulted in a preliminary 12-page report to members which is due to be considered by the policy and resources committee next Wednesday.

In it, the council’s assistant director of commissioning, Janice McGuinness, outlines the likely implications and potential benefits and suggests doing further "enabling and facilitating" cultural work as well as a feasibility study on whether the authority should prepare a bid.

She also says important lessons were learned from the previous failed bid which judges had said was “too generic”.

Her report also includes a second option of not pursuing the idea any further.

"Canterbury already has a fantastic record of delivering on culture so there should not be any doubts that we could do it" - Simon Cook

The council has until 2019/20 to decide whether to bid.

Leader Simon Cook said he thought it was a “brilliant” idea but the council needed to proceed with caution because of the implications of cost and officer time.

He added: “Canterbury already has a fantastic record of delivering on culture so there should not be any doubts that we could do it.

“But it’s not something you make a snap decision on and we need to see whether we can get everyone on board and do a lot of preliminary work.

“It may be that the actual decision as to whether to commit to bid should be taken by the newly elected council in 2019.”

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