Brandon Lewis fails to acknowledge Great Yarmouth culture bid failure

Brandon Lewis says the closure of Ambitions is "deeply disappointing" Photo: PA / David Mirzoeff

Brandon Lewis praised Armagh City and Banbridge and Craigavon for their entry into the longlist for UK City of Culture 2025, but didn't acknowledge Great Yarmouth's unsuccessful attempt. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Great Yarmouth's MP failed to acknowledge his constituency's bid for the UK City of Culture 2025 as he praised two Northern Irish cities which progressed to the next phase.

Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk's City of Culture 2025 bid was unsuccessful, it was announced on Friday.

Bids from Northern Irish communities Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon were successful.

In a statement Great Yarmouth MP and secretary for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis said: "I am delighted that Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, and Northern Ireland, continues to be represented in the longlist for the prestigious UK City of Culture 2025 title.

“Northern Ireland has a wonderful heritage in this competition, with Derry-Londonderry being a previous winner in 2013. I have no doubt that Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon will showcase the very best of what Northern Ireland has to offer the UK. 

"I wish the bid every success ahead of the final decision next year.”


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Despite his praise for the two Northern Irish bidders, Mr Lewis did not acknowledge the bid made by his constituency in his initial statement.

Mike Smith-Clare, Labour councillor in Great Yarmouth. Pic: Labour Party.

Mike Smith-Clare, Labour councillor in Great Yarmouth. Pic: Labour Party. - Credit: Labour Party

Labour county councillor for Great Yarmouth Mike Smith-Clare said: "I’m genuinely gutted that we weren’t long listed for the City of Culture award.

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"As someone who lives and works in the town, I know how brilliant Great Yarmouth is: historically, artistically and culturally.

"What a pity that the man elected to represent our town is unable to express his disappointment at us not receiving the recognition we deserve."

After being contacted by this paper, Mr Lewis praised the joint bid by Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Mr Lewis said: “I was hugely impressed with the bid put forward by Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk for City of Culture 2025, and am naturally disappointed that this wasn’t successful. 

"The fact that Great Yarmouth felt able to apply shows the huge leaps and bounds made in the last few years in relation to showcasing our area as a cultural destination.

"We will continue to promote Great Yarmouth and encourage visitors to the area and I am sure we will be bidding again in future so that the rest of the country can see all that Great Yarmouth has to offer.”

The eight successful bids for the longlist were: -

  • Armagh City
  • Banbridge and Craigavon
  • Bradford
  • Cornwall
  • County Durham
  • Derby
  • Southampton
  • Stirling
  • Wrexham County Borough

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