Bradford is crowned UK City of Culture 2025, beating Wrexham’s bid.

 Wrexham was one of four finalists in the bid, which will still see a reward of £125,000 given to the three runners up.

The winner was approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice from a panel of experts led by TV writer-producer Sir Phil Redmond.

Bradford will now receive £275,000 in initial seed funding to make sure the city can hit the ground running and get the wheels in motion early as it develops its plans for 2025.

Read more: LIVE: Bradford is announced as the next City of Culture 2025

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Congratulations to Bradford, which is a worthy winner of UK City of Culture 2025.

“Art and culture should be accessible to everyone and this prestigious title will help Bradford deliver unforgettable events for communities on their doorstep.  

“There was stiff competition and I thank County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough for their excellent bids.

 “Coventry has shown us how powerful the UK City of Culture title is at boosting investment, attracting visitors and leaving a lasting legacy for local people.” 

Wrexham Council leader Mark Pritchard: “I’m really very proud.

“I’d like to congratulate Bradford, it’s a fantastic achievement, but to think that we got to the last four.

“I want to say a big thank you to the people of Wrexham for your commitment, hard work and passion you’ve shown on this journey.

“I want to say a big thank you to the bid team, who have led us, they’ve done all the work.

“We’re all disappointed but celebrate what we’ve got and what we’ve achieved.”

Winning the title can have a hugely positive impact on the place - attracting millions of pounds of investment, bringing in thousands of visitors and engaging the local community.

As part of its status as UK City of Culture 2025, Bradford will be eligible for a £3 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and now has three years to prepare for a year of ground-breaking cultural activities.

Due to Wrexham’s bid, plans are in place to move forward.

They include committing to a significant event programme in 2023 and 2025, publicising an update on what this will look like by July 2022, use the momentum generated as part of the bit to take the county forward and further develop the important role that play has in Wrexham.

Joanna Swash, CEO of Moneypenny and chair of Wrecsam City of Culture steering group said: “We’ve achieved so much in this short amount of time and have witnessed an outpouring of community and business support for the bid. “We’ve shown just how much drive and potential that Wrexham has to offer and we have a strong platform to build on this further in terms of culture, skills and innovation in our county.”

Chair of Wrexham County Borough Council City of Culture steering group Cllr Hugh Jones said: “As the only region on the shortlist from Wales, we flew the flag for our country as well as Wrexham. Achieving shortlist status has helped us raise the profile of Wrexham, but it’s also sparked momentum and given us a platform to build on for future.”

Ian Bancroft, Chief Executive of Wrexham County Borough Council, said: “We have a much better understanding of what Wrexham culture is, and what culture means to Wrexham. “Culture plays a part in people’s daily lives and has a capacity to change and improve our surroundings and wellbeing. “We need to ensure that the links made during this competition as well as the learnings from it are not lost, and head towards a future where culture plays a key role in our planning and decision making for the  benefit of our county.”


What happens next?

Although Wrexham has missed out on becoming UK City of Culture hosts in 2025, there’s still so much to look forward to. Here’s what the Wrexham City of Culture bid plans:

•            “We intend on having our own ‘year of culture’ in 2023 and 2005 and will publicise what this looks like by July 2022

•            £15 million has been secured to develop the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and world heritage site.

•            Refurbishment of the butchers and General Markets.

•            Further developments as part of the Wrexham Gateway project.

•            Development of the Welsh football museum for set for delivery in 2025.

•            Working with Wrexham AFC in developing the Racecourse”