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News - 22 November 2009

Brighton & Hove drops Capital of Culture bid

Brighton & Hove will not bid to become UK Capital of Culture in 2013 after a wide range of interested parties decided that our cultural offer would be better developed at our own pace and to our own agenda.

More than 30 cities completed the initial stage; an expression of interest which was submitted for feedback in September (see earlier story). The feedback suggested that the initial bid, costed at about £3m, “lacked ambition”.

At a meeting in November of a wide range of partners there was a general consensus that the city should not proceed to the next stage.

ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT

The decision was the right one. As a city we already punch well above our weight in terms of our cultural and artistic offer and it is difficult to see how a bid to become Capital of Culture would enhance our ambitions. Indeed it is possible that it could hinder them by working to a timetable and an agenda other than our own.

Also, from a simple business analysis, the return on investment does not stack up (the feedback hinted that an investment of £10m would be appropriate). If we were a culturally impoverished city seeking to establish a name for ourselves, or even one with a reasonable offer but no profile, chasing the award might make more sense.


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