City of culture's �200m spin-off for Norwich

Ben KendallCity leaders today issued a rallying cry for public support after Norwich was shortlisted to become the first ever UK City of Culture with the potential for a �200m boost for the local economy.Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid websiteBen Kendall

City leaders today issued a rallying cry for public support after Norwich was shortlisted to become the first ever UK City of Culture with the potential for a �200m boost for the local economy.

Norwich is among four cities in the running for the prestigious title which would provide a major boost for tourism and attract new investment to the county.

Some estimates suggest it could generate up to �200m for the economy of the winning city.

Ministers yesterday whittled down a list of 14 contenders - including Ipswich - to eliminate all but the strongest candidates. Norwich must now see off the challenge of Birmingham, Sheffield and Derry/Londonderry.

The successful applicant will mark its status with a year of celebrations in 2013.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'I am absolutely thrilled we have made the shortlist. This is a fantastic opportunity to use culture to make a real difference to people in Norwich, to encourage stronger links between neighbourhoods and the city centre, and make sure the whole city is vibrant and culturally active.

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'Even being shortlisted means Norwich is recognised nationally and internationally as an important city of culture and will enjoy all the things that will bring.

'Now we're asking for the people of Norwich to really get behind this bid and show their enthusiasm for it. With the public's backing we can make this a reality.

'This is not just about short-term benefits - it could make people look at Norwich in a new way not just in cultural terms but as a place to do business and a place that offers an excellent quality of life.'

City Hall and the City of Norwich Partnership have led the bid and, over the next three months, will continue to work with cultural organisations to develop the bid.

Norwich South MP Charles Clarke said: 'It is fantastic news that Norwich has been selected for the final shortlist for the UK City of Culture in 2013. I want to congratulate all those who have worked so well together to make this happen.

'Our fine city has a cultural heritage which is second to none, and that is strongly reinforced by our modern creativity and vibrancy.

'We would be worthy winners so let's keep up the good work and win the final accolade.'

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: 'This is great news. I am absolutely delighted for our city to have been so successful so far in this contest.

'We are a vibrant city with longstanding cultural prominence - in our theatres, music, independent cinema, visual arts, architecture, open spaces and so much more. We are a thriving city which people love living in.

'We are going from strength to strength as the heart of the Norfolk and regional economy. If we won this accolade we would do the country proud as the next City of Culture.'

Jonathan Holloway, artistic director and chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, said: 'Norwich is a city that refuses to be categorised. It is overflowing with talent, imagination and potential.

'We host one of the UK's top five city festivals. We have beautiful venues and audiences with a huge appetite for arts and culture. Why wouldn't we be shortlisted for the UK City of Culture?'

Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid website