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Lancashire City of Culture 2025: Bid revived with council’s support

LANCASHIRE’S bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 is back on, with an application made just moments before the deadline.

The bid, which was announced by Lancashire 2025 on Monday July 19, has the support of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council leader Mohammed Khan CBE as well as that of the leaders of Blackpool and Preston City Councils along with the Lancashire Enterprise Board but without the backing of Lancashire County Council.

This comes after weeks of discussion between the partners.

Cllr Khan said: “We are proud to play a leading role as one of the key urban hubs within Lancashire’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

“We have worked closely with the team over the last year and the bid will be focused on projects we know will add resilience and capacity to a cultural sector still reeling from the impacts of the pandemic.

“The obvious potential for increased tourism, media, economic impact, skills and jobs, not to mention further showcasing the array of cultural assets and projects Blackburn with Darwen delivers is incredibly exciting, presenting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our borough and county.”

The announcement comes just days after Lancashire County Council announced that they had rejected calls to resurrect the bid, saying that the £22 million needed to back it was “too great a financial risk.”

County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: “Lancashire County Council was unable to agree an appropriate level of investment, risk and reward for the Lancashire 2025 bid, despite considerable efforts.

“We appreciate that Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Preston councils wish to continue to support this proposal, and we will provide the grant of £620k which had already been committed to the bid to help them with the work.

“We wish Lancashire 2025 and their partners well with their bid and hope it is successful.”

The bid follows a three year process during which the Lancashire 2025 team has worked in partnership with stakeholders across the county.

Lancashire 2025 chair Tony Attard OBE DL 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.

“We are hugely grateful to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council, Preston City Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership who have remained unwavering in their support for our bid.

“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.”

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