Plans are finally under way for Dundee’s bid to become European Capital of Culture — following delays it’s claimed were caused by Brexit.
Having lost out on becoming the UK’s City of Culture in 2017 to Hull, work has now begun to bid for the European honour in 2023.
However, preparations have only started within the last few weeks over fears raised in the immediate aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
It was initially believed that UK cities may no longer be eligible to enter the race as a result of the referendum back in June.
Cities named European Capital of Culture organise a series of events over the course of 12 months.
External companies and council chiefs have until October to come up with Dundee’s case for the top accolade, with a final decision expected to be made around Easter 2018.
Creative Services Scotland have been one of the driving forces behind the campaign which could bring significant social and economic boosts to the city.
The firm’s director Bryan Beattie said: “The starting gun was fired at the end of December when the UK Government officially said that cities are able to bid for it.
“There was a bit of doubt over whether the UK would be eligible following the decision to come out of the EU.
“Preparatory work that might have taken place earlier on the year is being done now. It’s early days but we’re looking to bring together a broad group that covers all areas of the city and how we would involve people.
“Those discussions will be taking place soon.”
Dundee was pipped to the post by Hull to be named UK City of Culture in 2017.
So far, Milton Keynes and Leeds have thrown their hats in the ring for European Capital of Culture status.
At the moment, no specific figure has been placed on the funding being sought to launch the bid.
And Mr Beattie says he anticipates difficulties in receiving any major cash boost from Dundee City Council, which is set to make £12.5 million in cuts.
He added: “The decision could be made around Easter 2018 so that period between October and Easter will be about fleshing out the programme of events.
“I can’t really put a figure on the funding at the moment — previous bids have gone from €10 to €15m for smaller cities, to €90m for the bigger cities.
“Dundee City Council has to make cuts which will have an effect on the bid. They have been tremendously supportive of us as ever, but we are also tremendously realistic.
“They’ve got big decisions to make but they’ve been very good at bringing other partners into the fold with the Waterfront so hopefully the same can happen with the bid.”