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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 16:01 GMT
Highlands defiant despite culture snub
Inverness skyline
Inverness missed out on a place on the shortlist
Supporters of Scotland's sole bid to become Europe's culture capital were bloodied but unbowed after failing to make the final shortlist.

Those behind the Inverness and the Highlands application admitted they were "gutted" not to be taking any further part in the process.

Bid committee chairman David Green said the 330,000 invested in the failed application had been money well spent.


I don't think we could have bought the publicity that we got for Inverness and the Highlands for the money that was invested in this

David Green
Bid committee chairman
"We will be celebrating culture every year anyway," he said.

It has also emerged that First Minister Jack McConnell will hold talks with Highland Council aimed at staging a year of Highland culture later this decade.

Tourism Minister Mike Watson said he had already been in touch with the local authority.

"We are going to look at taking forward some of the best aspects of the Inverness-Highlands bid, not least the way they put together 23 agencies to back the bid and work in cooperative fashion" he said.

"There are a number of issues that deserve to be taken forward, even though, sadly, the bid did not make the shortlist."

In the running

The 12 cities seeking the European Capital of Culture crown for 2008 have been whittled down to a shortlist of six.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced on Wednesday that Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle-Gateshead and Oxford were still in the running.

The eventual winner will be announced by the prime minister in the spring.

Mr Green told BBC Radio Scotland that he was "gutted" by the decision.

The six shortlisted cities
Birmingham
Bristol
Cardiff
Liverpool
Newcastle and Gateshead
Oxford
"I am extremely disappointed, but we felt we had a lot to offer the competition," he said.

He pointed out that the bid had encompassed a whole region rather than just a small city area.

"I am very disappointed for all those people who put in many interesting ideas," he said.

"I still believe that the Highlands has a rich cultural history and a big story to tell.

"It may not be told in this competition, but it will be told in the future."

And he stressed that the money spent on preparing the bid had not been wasted.

Cultural quarter

"I don't think we could have bought the publicity that we got for Inverness and the Highlands for the money that was invested in this," said Mr Green.

"We will go forward and work on some of the ideas."

He said there were a number of projects which could be built on, including the "fascinating" development of a 20m cultural quarter in Inverness.


This is an area that is on the up and up today economically, socially, culturally and every other way

Jim Hunter
Committee member
As part of this initiative more than 6m has already been pledged towards the expansion of the city's Eden Court Theatre.

Jim Hunter, one of the bid committee's members, said there was now a "great impetus" behind a range of projects.

"This is an area that is on the up and up today economically, socially, culturally and every other way," he said.

"We are making our mark in a Scottish context and indeed in a European context and that will continue irrespective of this result."

Glasgow was the last UK City of Culture in 1990.

It was estimated that the title brought an additional 14m into the city and created 5,500 jobs.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bid committee chairman David Green
"There has been no money wasted on this"
See also:

30 Oct 02 | Talking Point
19 Jun 02 | Scotland
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