Published: 12:32, 08 April 2019
| Updated: 13:35, 08 April 2019
A council in Kent is getting ready to launch a bid for the 2025 UK City of Culture.
Leader of Medway Council, Alan Jarrett (Con), has spoken highly of Medway's chances of succeeding Coventry in being awarded the prize, following in the footsteps of Cllr Vince Maple (Lab) and deputy chief executive Richard Hicks in publicly supporting an application.
Speaking on Thursday night (April 4), he compared Medway to former winners of the title and said the authority’s ongoing regeneration programme will help improve the prospect of a successful bid.
He added: “Why wouldn’t we bid for the UK City of Culture? We’ve got as much going for us as most places and more than most places.
“We’ve got as much going for us as Coventry and Hull had, and I’d argue we’ve got more going for us actually. So, let’s get to it and work hard.
“We’ve already started the process by talking to partners who might be able to support us and we’re determined to give this our best shot.”
Cllr Jarrett accepted lessons have been learnt from unsuccessful efforts to win city status for Medway, insisting a visit to Chelmsford in Essex gave him hope the authority can turn its fortunes around.
“We’ve got as much going for us as Coventry and Hull had, and I’d argue we’ve got more going for us actually..." Cllr Jarrett
He told councillors: “Chelmsford was successful (in 2012), so I thought I would go there and see what’s so different.
“It’s absolutely clear to me that Chelmsford is much smaller than Medway, but it does have a strong cohesive city centre which we don’t have. Hence going back to our discussions about Chatham (making it a "city centre").
“If you wrap all that up around all the good things we’ve got going in terms of our heritage and our history, why wouldn’t be able to create a really good and strong city of culture bid?
“That doesn’t mean to say we will be successful, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.”
Other entries for the next UK City of Culture are also likely to include Chelmsford, Luton, Northampton and Southampton.