Bradford Council Plans Big Investment

Bradford Council will spend £1.4 million over the next three years to promote the District’s bid to be named UK Capital of Culture.

News that Bradford would be bidding for the title of 2025 Capital of Culture was announced in July, when it was revealed that a partnership of local organisations would push for the Bradford District to receive the prestigious title.

At a meeting of the Council’s Executive next week, members will be asked to allocate up to £1,435,000 towards the project over a three year period.

And members will also be told the benefits of a successful bid – including potentially hundreds of millions of pounds in extra tourist spending and a major boost for the district’s museums and attractions.

The bid will be officially launched later this month, with recruitment currently underway to appoint a bid director.

A City of Culture Trust is being created to run the bid for a year if successful, and Chief Executive of Bradford Community Broadcasting, Mary Dowson BEM, has agreed to initially chair the Trust.

The bid is being led by a team including the University of Bradford, Bradford College and live arts company the Brick Box, as well as other organisations.

Bradford will compete against a number of other cities and regions. Areas to have announced their intention to run so far include Tees Valley, Luton, Medway, Lancashire and Southampton.

The winning bid is due to be announced in December 2021.

A report going to the Executive next Tuesday calls for the authority to provide funding towards the bid, adding: “It is now the right moment for the Council to formally confirm its backing for a cross District Partnership bid for Bradford to be the UK’s City of Culture in 2025.

“As part of this commitment it is important that the Council identifies sufficient funds to leverage and secure the considerable additional funding and investment in cultural programming and venues that can be attracted through bidding for City of Culture status.

“It is anticipated on the basis of the experience of other cities, that private and business sponsorship will make a significant investment in both the bidding process and delivery of the year of culture if successful.

“The Council will continue to bid for other sources of external public funding e.g. through West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool etc.”

The report points to the fact that Hull’s stint as Capital of Culture attracted investment of £228 million, according to the city’s University – while Coventry, which will hold the title in 2021, has already attracted more than £36 million in external revenue and capital funding. The title is estimated to be worth £350 million to the economy of the midlands city, and estimates say media coverage of the city’s successful bid has led to £13 million worth of media coverage so far.


Bradford Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said: “It would be absolutely marvellous for Bradford if the bid were successful – it would benefit every corner of the district.

“I think we’ve a really strong offer and the process of bidding and associated events will attract vital investment.

“This has been the experience of other past participants that we have spoken to.

“It shows off the district to its best advantage and promotes us nationally and globally to investors if we win.

“This means more jobs and more opportunities for economic regeneration in Bradford. It’s clear that any investment we make at this stage will attract significant funds in the future.”

The Executive meets in City Hall at 10.30pm on Tuesday September 10.

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