CHESTER is one of 11 contenders to put their names forward to become the next UK City of Culture in 2017.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey announced the bids – which include Aberdeen, Chester, Dundee, Hastings and Bexhill on Sea, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Southend on Sea and a joint application from Portsmouth and Southampton.
There are also applications from East Kent – which covers Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet – and Swansea Bay, which includes Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot.
The initial bids have to be in by the end of April when they will be examined by an independent advisory panel chaired by television producer Phil Redmond. The panel will announce a shortlist in June.
Mr Redmond, who played a leading role in Liverpool’s time as European City of Culture, said the scheme could be “a real catalyst for change”.
He said: “I’m delighted so many places have registered their interest in the competition for 2017. Together with the panel I’m looking forward to receiving some ambitious and dynamic bids.”