Northampton delays its UK City of Culture 2025 bid

Abington Street in Northampton.
Image caption Northampton will not be in the running for the 2025 UK City of Culture title

A town described as having a "decaying" and "dying" centre is to delay its bid to become the UK City of Culture.

Northampton Borough Council had previously said it wanted to take on the likes of Chelmsford, Luton and Southampton for the 2025 title.

But the team behind the plans said it would instead focus on bidding for the status in 2029.

Reasons given included time constraints and funding - the council last week predicted a £732,000 overspend.

The plans were discussed at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday night, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Head of cultural services Marion Goodman said: "We could consider launching the strategic long-term cultural vision for the town and then having a City of Culture bid for 2029.

"I don't think we would be able to do the amount of work required for 2025."

Image caption Efforts have been made to highlight Northampton's arts and heritage offerings

Chair of the committee, Councillor Jamie Lane, said the biggest issue would be funding, while panel member Gareth Eales said: "If we are going for City of Culture, it would be good to get our own cultural house in order first."

The borough council recently said it hoped £25m from the government's Future High Streets Fund could be used to redevelop the town centre, described as "dying" by one trader and "decaying" by broadcaster and local reverend Richard Coles.

The UK City of Culture status is designated to one city by the government every four years.

It was held by Londonderry in 2013 and Hull in 2017, while Coventry will have the title in 2021.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The "Love Northampton" campaign was a recent attempt to promote the town

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