City of Culture bid made official

Lancashire has submitted its official expression of interest to become the UK's City of Culture in 2025, just three weeks after the county council pulled its support.

The Lancashire 2025 team has decided to proceed anyway, backed by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council, Preston City Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

Last month, Lancashire County Council withdrew its support, citing the multi-million-pound costs of hosting such a programme of events. Business leaders were quick to criticise the decision, saying that winning the bid would be a huge boon for the county.

The county's bid will now be considered for inclusion on the long-list. If successful, the team will receive £40,000 to support the development of a full bid. The list is expected to be announced in September.

Reflecting on three years' work, chair of the bid team Tony Attard said: "The vision for Lancashire’s bid is so compelling, and arguably more pertinent now than ever, we simply could not give up on it. Now that our expression of interest is in, we will continue to work with partners across the county to ensure that we maximise the profile that being part of this competition can bring."

David Taylor, deputy chair of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are pleased that an expression of interest has been submitted. We have always seen the huge potential for a City of Culture bid to enhance Lancashire's reputation and recognition, supercharge its already compelling cultural offer and grow its economy.

"A successful bid to be UK City of Culture will not just boost visitor numbers, it will further showcase how Lancashire is a great place to live, work and do business."

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.