Conwy rubber stamp ‘UK City of Culture’ bid – despite not having any cities
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
A bid to make Conwy county the UK’s City of Culture has taken another step closer after the council’s cabinet rubber-stamped its “urgent” application.
A change in rules for the competition means areas, cities or communities can now bid for the four-yearly honour, currently held by Coventry.
Conwy will be the “flagship” town in the council’s expression of interest (EOI) in the scheme which would start from 2025.
Councillors were asked on Tuesday to approve submission of the bid, which was deemed “urgent” because of the short timescales for getting the entry in.
A report debated by members said the vision was to use the county’s jewels to put it on the world stage.
It said: “Conwy 2025 will co-produce a spectacular and radical cultural programme together with our communities.
“We will use the spirit of playfulness and adventure to connect everyone who lives, works and visits here with the transformational power of culture and celebrate Conwy on the world stage.”
The bid would use all the county’s historic and contemporary assets to try and sway the expert advisory panel, which will be choosing the successful candidate.
It will be looking for applicants to “articulate a vision which uses culture to transform a place through social, cultural and economic regeneration, making it more attractive to live, work, visit and invest in”.
Council leader Charlie McCoubrey said: “We have to win this by making the case as to what difference winning this would make.
“We’re looking to transform tourism to a certain extent – we want to make it a more year-round experience, get rid of that seasonality and make it a reasonably paid career.
“In some of the holiday spots there can be pressure on local services, on residents, so we want to be able to spread that througout the year, but also throughout the county.”
Cllr McCoubrey said he wanted to celebrate the culture in a way which was respectful and highlighted and showcased the Welsh language.
He said: “It’s one of the oldest languages in Europe, so it’s a huge repository of history and culture but also hugely vibrant modern language.
“For me it’s uniquely connected to its people and its place and that’s going to be first and foremost.”