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Swansea pipped at the post to UK City of Culture 2021 title

After being pipped at the post to the UK City of Culture 2021 title on Thursday evening (December 7), the team behind Swansea's shortlisted bid say they're determined to build on the partnerships, energy and ambition that have been forged across the city.

Swansea Beach

They say the strength of teamwork that's been developed throughout the bid will stand Swansea in good stead as the drive to place culture at the heart of the city's regeneration and communities in coming years continues.

Led by Swansea Council, with major backing from the Welsh Government, the Swansea 2021 team was made up of artists, creative producers, film makers, composers, musicians, and local, regional and national organisations from the public, private and third sectors. These include the city's universities, the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), and many businesses and individuals.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "On behalf of the Swansea 2021 bid team, I'd like to congratulate Coventry on their success and wish them well for 2021. They ran a great campaign, and we're sure their year as UK City of Culture will be a brilliant occasion.

"We're proud that our bid was one of only five across the UK to be shortlisted, so we'd like to thank the many thousands of people from across Swansea, Wales and the UK who backed our bid, as well as the judging panel, whose shortlisting of our bid gave us a chance to showcase our fantastic city to audiences throughout the UK and beyond.

"But the journey doesn't end here. We'll now be looking to continue to build on the great work, energy, good will and enthusiasm of the bid to strengthen our status as Wales's capital of culture in coming years."

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Major Projects, said: "We had a strong bid, with credible partnerships and ambitions. We're disappointed not to have won the title, but the relationships and partnerships developed through the course of the bid are still intact and will continue to grow. The legacy of this creative partnership will be more investment, more interest in our city and a stronger local economy, generating jobs in tourism and the creative industries.

"We're still investing in culture and will continue to be a pioneer area for culture tackling poverty. Swansea people have a lot to look forward to, from the Killers at the Liberty Stadium next year to the construction of the new, digital indoor arena and digital square in the city centre that will give opportunities for events, arts commissions and community activities.

"The number of active artists who supported our bid shows we're still a city of culture, so we'll return to our cultural plan and build arts and creativity, community health, wellbeing, fun and play into our regeneration strategies, planning policies and communities.

"We may have lost a completion, but we haven't lost our ambition.

"The £1.3bn City Deal for the Swansea Bay City Region will also see unprecedented investment in world class digital infrastructure across Swansea and South West Wales in coming years, giving enterprising talent in areas like the creative industries a fantastic opportunity to flourish and shine."

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Welsh Government's Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, said: "We would like to congratulate the city of Coventry on the success of its bid to be the UK's City of Culture 2021. We are clearly disappointed that the Swansea bid, which enjoyed huge support throughout the city, was ultimately unsuccessful. However, the whole process of preparing the bid has reinforced the city's determination to deliver a thriving, distinctive and inspiring cultural and arts offer. We congratulate them on that and look forward to working with Swansea to build on this achievement."

A contractor will soon be appointed for phase one of the Swansea Central development plans, which includes car parking facilities and a new pedestrian walkway over Oystermouth Road, as well as the digital indoor arena.

Rivington Land is managing for the overall development for Swansea Council, which will include new shops, restaurants and public spaces under a second phase of major works.

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