EIGHT towns have been named on the longlist to be named the next UK City of Culture.

Bangor was one of the 12 bids to lose out on the UK Government's culture award, which has resulted in millions of pounds of investment and a surge in tourism for previous winners such as Hull and Coventry.

North Wales still has a presence on the list with Wrexham County Borough making the last eight, alongside Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, and Stirling.

Each longlisted bidder will receive £40,000 to develop a full application, with the winner confirmed next spring.

A change in rules for the competition means areas, cities or communities can now bid for the four-yearly honour.

Gwynedd Council, Bangor University and Bangor City Council had centred its bid on the city, as well as surrounding areas including the designated Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales World Heritage site, the wider Arfon area and Anglesey, to try and sway the expert advisory panel and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Longlisted locations will now work with the DCMS to finalise their bids before the shortlist is confirmed at the start of next year.

“Winning the UK City of Culture competition has a hugely positive impact on an area, driving investment, creating jobs, and highlighting that culture is for everyone, regardless of their background," said UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries.

“This year’s focus is on levelling up access to culture across the country and making sure there is a legacy that continues for generations to come. I look forward to seeing what this brilliant longlist has in store as they continue in the competition.”

The competition, delivered by DCMS in collaboration with the Offices for Wales and Scotland and the Northern Ireland Executive, uses culture as a tool for levelling up towns and cities across the country. The longlist was recommended by an independent advisory panel which brings together a wide range of expertise from across the UK.

Previous winners Hull and Derry-Londonderry have shown how the competition can deliver greater and long-lasting cultural participation, economic regeneration and local pride, whilst Coventry City of Culture 2021 is already providing a blueprint for how culture can be at the heart of social and economic recovery.

Sir Phil Redmond, chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “The Expressions of Interest stage was introduced as an opportunity to encourage many more places to experience the benefit of coming together to define and share a cultural vision for their areas, and what the longlist demonstrates is the range and depth of cultural ambition across the whole of the UK.

“Also for the first time, each longlisted city will receive financial support to help them develop their vision. Each is different. Each has its own story to tell. All share a common aim: to demonstrate how culture can act as the creative catalyst for change. I am really looking forward to seeing how each story develops.”

All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, as well as how they would use culture to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time, this year each longlisted place will receive £40,000 to support the development of their promising proposals.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries will host a roundtable with all unsuccessful bidders to discuss how best they can be supported.

Welsh secretary Simon Hart said: “In a fantastic field of UK City of Culture bids, Wrexham has done extremely well to fly the flag for Wales by reaching the longlist.

“I wish them every success as they seek to become the first Welsh holder of the UK City of Culture title with all the opportunities it will bring to an area of huge cultural pedigree which contains the World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, one of the world’s oldest football clubs in Wrexham FC and the Stiwt Theatre.”