Has Banksy's visit to Lowestoft boosted City of Culture bid?
- Credit: Julie Martin/Mick Howes
A council "hopes to capitalise" on the attention Banksy has brought to Lowestoft in its City of Culture bid.
East Suffolk Council (ESC) is working with Great Yarmouth Borough Council on the proposal, which could ultimately see Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston become UK City of Culture 2025.
The ambitious plan - announced last month - was greeted with a rapturous reception as 150 letters of support were sent by community leaders, MPs and other key players.
And it has been a case of perfect timing for the trio of towns, which became the focus of Banksy fever in recent weeks.
Thousands of visitors have flocked to the coast to catch a glimpse of the elusive graffiti artist's work, which popped up in various locations at the beginning of August.
And now the hope from ESC officials is that Lowestoft's moment in the spotlight will boost its prospects ahead of the decision-making process.
Steve Gallant, leader of council, said: "We have a huge amount to be proud of in East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth.
"We are really confident that our bid for City of Culture status will be strong and will stand up well against the other excellent bidders.
"There is no denying, however, that the Banksy artworks have drawn particular attention to this part of the world and it has been an incredibly exciting few weeks for us.
"We now hope we can capitalise on this attention to remind people why we think our bid should be seriously considered."
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UK City of Culture 2025 is the first time a collection of linked or neighbouring towns have been eligible to apply together.
The Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth/Gorleston bid aims to showcase culture, diversity and local people, but also seeks to challenge the disadvantage and low social mobility in the area.
A decision on whether the case has made it onto the longlist will be announced in early September 2021, before the winner is finally announced in May next year.
The victor will host a year-long programme of creative events and activities in 2025 to showcase its cultural offering to the world.