East Kent: City Bid Fails

East Kent has failed to make it onto the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2017.

The bid, which brought together Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet, was one of 11 considered by an independent advisory panel. They have decided that Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay will go forward to compete for the title.

Phil Redmond, who chaired the panel said: "It was incredibly difficult to decide on a shortlist as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change and offered innovative and interesting programmes.

"In the end the panel thought the four short listed cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and would not only deliver for their communities, but would also maintain the momentum created around the success of Derry-Londonderry.

The team behind East Kent's bid say they are "hugely disappointed" but that they will carry forward some of the ideas included in their campaign.

Chris Hespe, KCC's Head of Culture and Sport, speaking on behalf of the East Kent bid team said: "The very process of bidding has been a victory in itself - helping us to realise the power of culture to inspire, to excite and to bind the people of East Kent.

"It is crucial that we don't lose sight of this powerful collaboration, and the many other positive outcomes that this process has achieved. We have put East Kent on the national map as an area of great creativity, of world-class culture and of commitment to placing the arts at the centre of economic regeneration.

"Regardless of today's outcome, we remain committed to ensuring that 2017 will be a very special year for East Kent culture - and we will be spending the next few weeks deciding which elements of our proposed programme we will be taking forward - so watch this space!"