Unfortunately we've just missed out on being shortlisted for the UK City of Culture - the final four are Dundee, Leicester, Hull and Swansea. I believe from a standing start a real quality bid was worked up in a short space of time. Local authority staff, our cultural advisers, our schools and many local people put a lot of effort in to make the bid what it was. We cannot let that momentum dissipate.
Some really outstanding ideas emerged from all that energy. The cultural collaboration agreed between our secondary schools, the idea of putting artists or performers into every school really stand out. And on the national plane the idea of the cultural long-march from Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire down to Hastings, retreading the steps of Harold and his army in 1066, really gripped the imagination.
We may not be the city of culture but Hastings with its surrounding 1066 area remains the most famous town in the country. We intend to build on that and on the enthusiasm created locally by the bid to see which of the projects in the bid we can still deliver. But we are looking now to 2016 - the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. We only went with 2017 because that was the city of culture year.
I believe the Hastings and 1066 brand can still get public and private funding for major cultural initiatives even without the city of culture badge, And that’s the challenge now before us,
And don’t forget we have been shortlisted for the Academy of Urbanism top town award and we find out if we have got that in November. In fact I had to appear on BBC Radio Derby to discuss our merits along with representatives of the other two on the shortlist, Buxton and Cork.
Just going for the city of culture has put us on the map, has raised the positive profile of Hastings in TV, radio and the press. We couldn’t have paid for the publicity it has brought us. Now we will work up our own plans to continue promoting this image recognising that culture remains a vital lever to move our area on.