Rivals on their marks as Leeds bids for European Capital of Culture honour

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A final decision on who takes the title may still be two years away but the runners and riders are already assembling for the race to be named European Capital of Culture 2023.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, council bosses in Leeds confirmed last March that the city would be bidding for the high-profile honour.

Now a council briefing paper on the progress made by the bid team has revealed some of the names that could be fighting it out with Leeds after formal applications are submitted.

The report says: “Other UK [areas] to publicly declare early intentions to bid are Dundee, Milton Keynes and East Kent.

“The Mayor of Bristol has recently announced that the city is considering a bid.”

But it also warns: “UK cities will not be called upon to formally put an expression of interest in until December 2016 at the earliest.

“Only at this point will we know definitively which UK cities Leeds is competing against.”

Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said today: “We’re very happy with how our bid is coming together and above all it’s been so encouraging to see the level of interest and enthusiasm for the process, especially from such a diverse range of people, communities and organisations.

“Of course we know that competition for the title will be incredibly fierce, but we’re confident we have the knowledge, expertise and passion to draw up a bid that will be very tough to beat.”

The last UK city to hold the title of European Capital of Culture was Liverpool in 2008.

A final decision on 2023’s winning applicant is expected in 2018.

For further information on Leeds’s bid, visit www.leeds-2023.co.uk.