Tay Cities Bid to Capture Culture Crown

Towns and cities linked by the River Tay have joined forces in a bid to be named the next UK City of Culture.

In an unusual collective bid, the Tay Cities region has submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be in with a chance to take the title.

Dundee City, Perth and Kinross, Angus and Fife councils are working in partnership on the application.

If successful, it would bring millions of pounds and hundreds of pounds to the region.

It is the first time in the award’s history that groups of towns or areas have been allowed to bid for the City of Culture title together.

Scotland’s longest river, the Tay, connects the four council areas.

They are already linked through the Tay Cities Deal, a £700 million investment in business, education, local government and the third sector.

For the City of Culture bid, the local authorities are working with their respective leisure and culture trusts.

The Tay Cities region is home to world-class cultural attractions including V&A Dundee, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Arbroath Abbey, and the University of St Andrews – the oldest in Scotland.

Major plans are also under way for a new museum at Perth City Hall, which will be home to the Stone of Destiny.

In the City of Discovery, it is hoped Eden Dundee will bring in £27m a year and create 500 jobs.

The EOI was submitted to the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) last month.

Six places that have submitted an EOI will be longlisted for the title and will receive funding of £40,000 from the DCMS to develop their applications.

The list will be announced in September and judges, led by Sir Phil Redmond, will visit each location before announcing the 2025 UK City of Culture in May 2022.

Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, said: “I’m delighted that we are part of this creative and innovative regional bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025.

“We’ve seen here in Dundee over recent years how powerful culture can be in leading regeneration.

“Our collective bid is about harnessing that transformative power and helping to ensure that the Tay Cities Region achieves its full social and economic potential.

“Becoming UK City of Culture would allow us to accelerate how we tell our story to the UK and the world, to connect our diverse rural and urban communities, and to bridge the divides of inequality.”

Perth & Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle said: “The next few years are hugely exciting for the Tay Cities Region.”

He added: “Becoming 2025 UK City of Culture would recognise our rich cultural heritage and the plans we have for the future, such as bringing the Stone of Destiny home to a new museum in Perth City Hall.

“But our ambitions for the region stretch much higher and the City of Culture title would drive forward our ongoing cultural regeneration and deliver long-lasting benefits for our residents.”

The first UK City of Culture was Londonderry in 2013, followed by Hull in 2017.

Coventry is the current UK City of Culture, gaining the title in May 2021.

It is estimated Coventry will benefit from £110m of additional investment and see 900 jobs created.

Hull, 2017’s winners, is thought to have received a £676m boost from the title. An estimated 800 new jobs were also created.

Angus Council leader David Fairweather said the region is “incredibly diverse”.

“Becoming 2025 UK City of Culture would transform the entire Tay Cities region, showcasing Tayside and North East Fife to the world as well as building upon the work of the Tay Cities Deal,” he added.

Fife Council co-leader David Alexander added a successful bid would have a “long-lasting positive impact”.

“Fife Council is wholeheartedly pleased to be part of the bid that the Tay Cities Region has submitted to become the 2025 UK City of Culture,” he said.

“I’m delighted to support this bid,” said fellow co-leader David Ross.

“We are already working innovatively with Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus on the Tay Cities Regional Deal.”

He added: “This innovative regional bid to become the city of culture adds another dimension to these efforts and raises the profile of the whole region, which can only be good for everyone in the area.”

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