Cornwall

Truro's £500,000 bid for Capital of Culture stalls

Truro
Image caption Truro would form the centre of a bid which supporters claim would bring £100 million to Cornwall

A £500,000 bid for Truro to become European Capital of Culture has stalled amid claims it is a poorly-considered "vanity project".

Last month Cornwall Council's Independent-Lib Dem cabinet voted to go ahead with the bid for Truro to secure the title in 2023.

At the time the city's mayor said he had not been consulted about the plans.

The decision will now face further scrutiny after Conservative councillors complained.

More on the culture bid and other stories from Cornwall

They claimed Truro started working on the bid too late and other interested cities, including Leeds and Milton Keynes, had been putting together detailed plans for several years.

"We've been told for four years we've got no money, we're a 'no-money council' and you suddenly produce more than £500,000 for a bid to become the European Capital of Culture," said councillor Fiona Ferguson.

"I think it's entirely unrealistic to spend money on this sort of thing. It's a vanity project."

She claimed Brexit also meant any money invested in the project could be wasted, as the UK may no longer even be eligible to take part.

However, in the past three non-EU cities have held the title, Istanbul in 2010, Stavanger in Norway in 2008 and Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2000.

Image caption Critics of the bid claim the money would be better invested in existing cultural events

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which launched the contest in December, said it was continuing under the assumption a UK city will host the event in 2023.

Cornwall Council said the cabinet's decision was being called in on the grounds that there was "inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision being made" and that there was not sufficient evidence "on which to base a decision".

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