Team make positive trip to capital for our culture bid

Cllr Jeremy Birch pictured on the East Hill steps, Hastings. 6/3/13
Cllr Jeremy Birch pictured on the East Hill steps, Hastings. 6/3/13

A DELEGATION made a successful trip to the capital to argue the case for Hastings bid to become City of Culture in 2017.

The team visited Farringdon in London last week to face a barrage of questions during a ‘Classification’ session held by consultants employed by the Department of Culture.

Council leader Jeremy Birch said he felt confident that the team had presented a good case and made sure they made all the key points to bring the bid to Hastings & 1066 Country.

The team were grilled for an hour and a half, the first question sesssion ahead of the crucial short list which will be announced next month.

They were asked ‘what was the track record on delivering events’ and ‘how they would finance everything.’

The classification officers will now report back to the panel of judges which includes reowned TV producer Phil Redmond as its chairman.

A shortlist of four or five bids is expected to be announced on June 17. The Secretary of State will make the final decision in November.

Hastings is one of 11 bids in the running.

The others are East Kent, Leicester, Southend, Chester, Plymouth, Swansea Bay, Dundee, Hull, Aberdeen, Porsmouth and Southampton.

Chester are the favourites with bookies William Hill.

But following a rush of bets earlier this month Hastings moved from rank outsiders at 25-1 to 12-1.

Councillor Birch said: “We made sure all we got across all the points we wanted to make.

“We wanted to show how we would used the bid to revive the community and the interviewers looked interested.

“Our theme plays on that of 1066 - English language and culture all started here.

“The bid come at a very significant time for our regeneration over the past 25 years.

“Recently we’ve had the Priory Quarter, Sussex Coast College and now the pier.

“We’ve got a proud record or delivering events. Just look at Jack in the Green, the Olympic Torch, May Day Bike Festival and the bonfires.

“We talked about taking our idea into schools and housing estates.

“From a timing point of view everything is right for us. The pier should be relauched well in time and we really are not the dark horses.”