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Worcester could be named City of Culture 2021
WORCESTER could become the UK's City of Culture - in a move that would pour millions into the economy and catapult it into the national spotlight.
The city council wants to start talks over making a bid to win the acclaimed accolade for 2021.
If successful Worcester would be radically transformed, leading to a rolling programme of cultural events in the years running up it.
The City of Culture award is handed out by the Government once every four years.
In 2021 itself it would likely lead to more than 1,000 events being staged, as well as Worcester becoming the national host for shows held by the likes of VisitEngland, the Tate gallery, the BBC, Heritage Lottery Society, Channel 4, the Arts Council and the National Poetry Society.
Hull, which has secured the award for 2017 after spending years developing its bid, is estimated to benefit from at least £60 million of extra economic activity, helping the jobs market, tourism, shops, businesses and its international reputation.
A 2021 shortlist of around four cities is expected to be decided upon by the Government within two years, which means Worcester must act now if it wants to stand a good chance of success.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, city council leader, said Worcester has a "track record" of impressive cultural events which bodes well.
He said: "Worcester’s past, present and future are steeped in rich and varied cultural traditions - we are totally committed to supporting the arts and creating more opportunities for local, national and international audiences to experience them in our city."
Chris Jaeger, chief executive of Worcester Live, which runs Huntingdon Hall and the Swan Theatre, said: "We are very, very thrilled and excited by this - I will do anything and everything I can to help.
"People in Worcester tend to think 'that's what other cities do' but actually, this is such a fantastic place.
"We've got the fastest growing university in the country, The Hive has put Worcester on the map, there's plans at the old Royal Porcelain site which are great, there's so much about this place.
"It's just a great idea."
Adrian Field, from Worcester Business Improvement District, which represents retailers, said: "This is ambitious, which is great.
"We can use it to secure a legacy even if we aren't successful, but we've got a great cultural offer.
"It'd put Worcester on the map and be great for the economy."
The city council's cabinet is meeting on Tuesday, April 15 to vote on developing a bid, and if backed various bodies including the county council, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Destination Worcestershire will all work together on it.
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