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Southampton launches new bid to be City of Culture
SOUTHAMPTON has launched another attempt to become the country's “city of culture”.
City leaders are putting together another joint bid with south coast neighbours Portsmouth to be the UK City of Culture in 2017.
It follows a failed combined bid for the 2013 title four years ago.
If successful, the cities could host major cultural events and benefit from significant financial investment and a higher national profile.
Housing and leisure boss Cllr Warwick Payne said Portsmouth’s history and heritage could be attractive in a bid while Southampton had, along with its own history and heritage, a thriving arts scene.
He said: “If we join these two bids together hopefully we can come up with something special.
“Clearly if we were successful this could bring in quite a lot of investment and tourism cash to the Southampton area so it’s well worth being in the race.”
Back in 2009, leisure chiefs used the slogan “PS I Love You” and hoped the cities’ links with the sea and maritime heritage would sway the judges.
The bid did not make the shortlist and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland won the title.
But Cllr Payne said since then the city has added some “extra strings to its bow”.
He said the growth in the cruise industry bringing more people to explore the city, Saints status as a Premier League football club and the closer relationship between the two councils would strengthen any bid.
This was in addition to the opening of the Sea City museum and the attention placed on the city for the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic and the refurbishment of the Tudor House museum, he said.
In the coming weeks, the council will be sounding out Southampton’s arts groups and arts leaders to see whether they would take part in a bid and how it could benefit them to come up with a solid proposal.
An official bid for City of Culture must be submitted by the end of April.