City of Culture shortlist success for Wrexham as final four are announced
Wrexham could be named the next UK City of Culture after making the final four.
The shortlist of four locations from the original 20 bids has seen Wrexham reach the final, while Wolverhampton has missed out on its bid to follow Coventry as the City of Culture.
The four locations of Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough for the 2025 shortlist were approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice made to the government by a panel of experts led by Sir Phil Redmond.
The finalists were whittled down from a record 20 initial bids to eight longlist applications which also included Cornwall, Derby, Stirling and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.
All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, as well as how they would use culture to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: "The UK City of Culture competition shows the important role that culture can play in levelling up our towns, cities and rural communities, bringing investment, great events, thousands of tourists, and opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds.
"We have seen a huge positive impact in this year’s host city, Coventry, with millions of pounds in investment and thousands of visitors.
"This has been a record year for bids, which is great to see. Congratulations to the four shortlisted places and I wish them all the best of luck."
The expert advisory panel, chaired by Sir Phil Redmond, will now visit the four shortlisted places before making their final recommendation in May, with the winner being announced this year in current City of Culture Coventry.
The eight longlisted bidders received, for the first time, a £40,000 grant to strengthen their applications which were scrutinised by the expert advisory panel against published criteria.
The unsuccessful areas will each receive detailed feedback on their bids and ministers and officials will also engage with them on how best they can maintain momentum and realise their ambitions in the future.