WORCESTER is all set to become the UK’s City of Culture 2021.
At a meeting of Worcester City Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, March 15 members approved a proposal to develop a bid for the title.
If it is successful, Worcester will follow Liverpool, Derry-Londonderry and Hull as the country’s City of Culture from 2021 to 2025.
Speaking at this week’s meeting, council leader Cllr Adrian Gregson described the plans as “a real opportunity for the city”.
“This is an exciting and welcome development,” he said.
“I think the thing that comes out of all of this is the real excitement and thrill of being involved with something that involves all the culture of the city.”
He said it was important all elements of the city’s culture worked together and stressed the need for sporting organisations to play their part.
Some sporting groups including Worcester Swimming Club have hit out at the city council recently for reducing a planned new eight-lane swimming pool to a six-lane facility, but Cllr Gregson said he hoped they could put their disagreements over this aside to work together.
“This isn’t going to happen in isolation,” he said. “We will need to work with other people and groups throughout the city.”
He added he was pleased by the amount of support the plans had received since they were announced earlier this month but said he hoped those who had welcomed the idea would be prepared to back it financially as well.
“This is an ambitious proposal and it is something that is going to need a degree of investment,” he said.
“We need to challenge the people who’ve shown their support to put some money up front.”
Cllr Gregson said a good deal of work needed to be carried out before the bid was ready for submission to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
“We do have to do some leg work,” he said. “But given our record in the city as a cultural place we stand a real chance of bringing the partnership together and making a realistic bid.”
Cllr Roger Berry said he was firmly in favour of the plans but believed the process of putting the bid together was just as valuable as the final result.
“It’s not essential to win,” he said. “It’s about people working together and the good that can come out of that.”
The council will now work gathering support and funding for the project while appointing a project manager and drafting and consulting on a bid and events programme in 2016 before submitting the bid in 2017.
If successful it is believed that more than 1,000 events will be staged throughout the city during the four-year period.