WORCESTER'S council leader has said the city did not bid to become the next City of Culture because there wasn't a realistic chance of winning.

And the city's MP has agreed it would have been too difficult to win this time round.

But Marc Bayliss and Robin Walker have said it is "never say never" and the Faithful City could make the move to have the UK’s cultural spotlight on it in the future.

The competition to find City of Culture 2025 was launched last month and councils up and down the country made a bid before the deadline that passed earlier this week.

As Worcester has a number of number of festivals, events and venues - including attractions such as Worcester Cathedral, the Commandery and the Swan Theatre - the idea to bid has been informally put forward before, with Worcester City councillors not pursing it after being put off by the costs.

CULTURE: Swan Theatre, Worcester

CULTURE: Swan Theatre, Worcester

And Cllr Bayliss said a bid for the 2025 title was not considered this time for similar reasons.

LEADER: Cllr Marc Bayliss

LEADER: Cllr Marc Bayliss

"We looked at this some time ago, ultimately we didn't think we could - it is very expensive and the chances of winning were quite low," Cllr Bayliss said.

"They have tended to pick places that have a degree of deprivation that need regeneration, like Coventry.

"I would never say never (for a bid). It is not through a lack of ambition. We are doing a host of stuff on the cultural area, we are interested in culture. Worcester is a beautiful city.

"But I think it was several hundred thousand pounds just to develop a proposal. You have to have a realistic chance of securing it."

ELEPHANTS: Worcesters Big Parade art trail

ELEPHANTS: Worcester's Big Parade art trail

Worcester's MP Robin Walker said he agreed with Cllr Bayliss that the city will need to wait for the opportunity to be successful in a bid.

"Given that it has just been Coventry, I think they will choose somewhere, elsewhere in the country," the MP said.

"It would be quite surprising if it went to two places in the West Midlands in quick succession. It is too close to home.

"Worcester has a really strong case though. We have got such a fantastic music and art scene, the Cathedral, and everything going on right now with the elephants and Same But Different.

"Worcester has a range of attractions and strengths. We have unique things going for us, and a lot others could learn from, which we could showcase.

"Worcester is the type of place that should be able to succeed in a bid. I just think our time is further down the line."

ART: Same But Different art

ART: Same But Different art

Among the names to put their names in the hat for the 2025 competition, that is run by the UK Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years, are Lancashire, Durham, Exeter and Torquay and Newport.

The new winner will take on the baton from Coventry, which started its year in June and is expected to benefit financially from increased tourism.

Hull saw £300m in tourism spending generated during its year in the spotlight in 2017.

We reported in 2017 that TripAdvisor data showed Worcester was among the top five most cultural cities in the country, beating cities including London and Liverpool.