A mixture of disappointment and pride has been the main response to Chester failing to become City of Culture 2017.
Cheshire West and Chester Council executive member for culture and recreation, Cllr Stuart Parker
“Chester is already a city alive with culture – a programme which is growing year on year, attracting thousands to the city and achieving international recognition.
“Our bid not only outlined future intentions but also highlighted what we already offer. It brought together and galvanised our cultural organisations and community in a way few imagined.”
Shadow culture spokesman, Cllr Louise Gittins: “The future for cultural activity in Britain is uncertain. Traditionally local authorities have played a vital role in keeping cultural activity alive as an emblem of what is special about our community but also, importantly, as a driver for economic activity and regeneration. Now more than ever, Cheshire West and Chester needs culture to put us on the map.”
Andrew Bentley, project manager at Chester Performs:
“It is a bit of a disappointment, but I’d like to extend my congratulations to all those involved in a brilliant bid.
“2013 will be a bumper year for culture in Chester and I’m sure everyone is going to enjoy it.”
Jo Sykes, Chester Mystery Plays Company chairman:
“Chester is as passionate about its total cultural offer as it is about its Mystery Plays and we are determined to continue to strengthen and support the cultural partnerships which have become even stronger across our borough during preparations for the stage one bid.
“It is our ambition to ensure that one day the Chester Mystery Plays are given the recognition other Passion Plays receive throughout Europe and beyond.”
Brian Pearson, chairman of Theatre in the Quarter:
“This is sad news for the city but the council’s arts team and local arts organisations are determined to build on the momentum the bid has generated to create an even more vibrant cultural scene in Cheshire.”
Matt Baker, musical director of A Handbag of Harmonies:
“The choir is disappointed that Chester did not make the shortlist. However, we remain proud of Chester and still look forward to an exciting future in this fabulous corner of the world.”
Labour opposition leader Cllr Justin Madders:
“We are very disappointed at this decision and I am a bit concerned about why we have not even made the shortlist. We need to ask for details from the council about why such a prominent city as Chester has not even made the first cut.
“I have a concern this all seemed a little bit last minute and ‘back of a fag packet’ in terms of the approach. I would like to know whether there was a proper plan, delivered in good time, or was it a flight of fancy that never stood a chance.”
Chester MP Stephen Mosley:
“We can all be proud that culture in Chester has made huge leaps forward over the past three or four years and that everyone pulled together to back our bid.
“It is critically important that we maintain the momentum; that we keep creating new festivals, new venues and keep expanding our cultural offering to make sure that our bid is even better next time.”