At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Cllr Gallant announced the joint bid by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and East Suffolk Council to become UK City of Culture 2025.
With a shared cultural history linked to the sea, beautiful beaches, historic buildings and bordered by the unique Broads National Park, Great Yarmouth Borough and East Suffolk Councils have joined forces for an exciting bid to become UK City of Culture 2025!
The bid aims to showcase the region’s rich and multi-layered culture, its diversity, its people and their creativity, experiences, buildings and landscapes, opening them up to be enjoyed and engaged with by everyone and creating a cultural legacy for future generations.
The bid will play a key role in the efforts of both communities to overcome their challenges, helping local people to recover from the effects of the pandemic and forge new opportunities ahead, especially for young people.
The bid focuses on the resort towns of Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Lowestoft which all have centuries of connection with the sea and the world beyond. Exemplars of the great British seaside, they are thriving visitor destinations which continue to welcome millions of visitors each year. These towns are integral to the UK’s renewable energy industry and are also centres of fertile creativity, rich heritage and cultural distinctiveness. Beyond them, there is also a rich heritage and culture – both natural and man-made – from Aldeburgh and the Suffolk coast northwards to Winterton-on-Sea, coastal resorts and inland market towns, the Norfolk Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Great Yarmouth’s cultural offering features everything from street performance and festivals, to the circus and Golden Mile, mediaeval town walls and iconic entertainment venues, as well as fine sands and a fascinating maritime history with links to Nelson and the great herring fleets of the 19th century; while East Suffolk’s picturesque coastal and rural centres host renowned music events with a landscape which has inspired the works of authors, composers, artists and choreographers, and it is the place where each day’s new dawn rises first in the UK.
UK City of Culture 2025 is the first time a collection of linked or neighbouring towns have been eligible to apply together, and the joint bid has won the support of the New Anglia LEP, Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, Norfolk Community Foundation, Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce, the area’s three local MPs and many other major regional public sector stakeholders, arts and community organisations.
The two councils will file an expression of interest by next Monday, July 19. The decision on whether their bid has made it onto the long list will be announced in early September 2021, with the UK City of Culture 2025 winner being announced in May next year.
A successful bid will see the coastal region and its hinterland host a year-long programme of creative events and activities in 2025 to showcase its cultural offers to the world and bring people together with wider benefits felt across Norfolk & Suffolk in relation to the visitor economy. This year’s UK City of Culture 2021 host, Coventry, is anticipated to enjoy an economic boost of around £211 million, with an additional 2.5 million visitors to its region.
Both Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk councils are already committed to comprehensive programmes to attract unprecedented levels of investment into their area’s infrastructure and cultural sectors. Recently, the Government has awarded a total of more than £63m across the two areas by way of the Towns Deal, Heritage Action Zones and Future High Streets Programme funding in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston & Lowestoft.
East Suffolk has an equally strong and diverse community with an economy raring to take advantage of opportunities for future growth alongside major economic investment. An area with significant challenges of low social mobility and disadvantage, cultural-led regeneration sits at the heart of the ambitious Town Investment Plan for Lowestoft, with many projects set to be live by 2025. Elsewhere, there is a growing range of cultural and heritage attractions in its market and coastal towns.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth and will reflect our continuing hard work to ensure the highest quality of life possible for everyone living, working and visiting our part of the East of England.
“We are fortunate to have a rich tapestry of cultural diversity right across East Suffolk and we are delighted to join forces with our friends at Great Yarmouth in this bid. Becoming City of Culture 2025 will bring real change, huge opportunities and significant benefits to our communities and will enable us to showcase all that we have to offer.”