Leading Wrexham councillors back second City of Culture bid
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Leading councillors in Wrexham have backed plans to make a second bid to become UK City of Culture.
It was announced last month that the county borough had been beaten by Bradford in the race to hold the title in 2025 after entering a competition run by the UK Government.
However, Wrexham Council recently revealed it was preparing to submit a further bid to become City of Culture in 2029 after receiving positive feedback from the judges.
Executive board members approved launching another attempt to win the title at a meeting on Tuesday (July 11, 2022).
They also agreed to back the organisers of the National Eisteddfod, who confirmed their intention to bring the celebration of Welsh culture and language to Wrexham in 2025.
It will be one of seven events held in the build up to the next City of Culture bid, which the local authority said would attract millions of pounds and large numbers of visitors into the area.
Cllr Hugh Jones, the arts portfolio holder, said he was confident about the council’s chances of success in 2029.
He said: “If you look at the facts with Bradford and the size of their team, they had eight full time staff and a PR agency that had been working on the project for two and a half years.
“In just over six months, we came so close to winning this and that gives an indication of the achievement that we had in Wrexham.
“Clearly, we want to bid for 2029 and why wouldn’t we because 2025 is probably worth somewhere in the region of £300m.
“By the time we get to 2029, you can just imagine what that might be worth for Wrexham.
“In 2025, we want to bring the National Eisteddfod of Wales back home to Wrexham because that will increase and develop the tremendous Welsh culture and heritage that we have within our communities.”
As one of the runners up in the City of Culture competition alongside County Durham and Southampton, Wrexham was awarded £125,000 to deliver some elements of its bid.
The council’s chief executive Ian Bancroft said the funding would be used to hold comedy, football and music-related events, as well as to increase the number of staff involved in the next bid.
Raised the bar
He said: “We raised the bar for Wrexham, and we raised it to a level that means we’re in a different playing field to be alongside places like Bradford, who had three goes at bidding for this title and already had a permanent team in place.
“The reason we did it is because it is a massive benefit to Wrexham.
“The financial investment is huge, and it raises our aspirations for children and young people.
“What we can achieve when we act as Team Wrexham is absolutely phenomenal.”
Executive board members voted in favour of making a second culture bid and holding the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham at the end of the discussion.
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