In an interview with CornishStuff the leader of the Conservative group on the Council, John Keeling has confirmed he would scrap the European Capital of Culture bid as and when he becomes leader of Cornwall Council.
The Conservatives won the largest number of seats at the council last week and talks are currently underway to form a new administration.
“I haven’t got alot of choice on the EU Culture bid” he told us – referring to the way the tories campaigned so hard against it and it was Keeling himself who referred the bid to the council’s Scrutiny Committee.
“What I was keen to do was to see a framework policy put together that handles these big ticket events that we can have in Cornwall – like the 2025 UK Culture bid”
“So do you think you’ll be going for that one instead?” we asked
“Absolutely! I can’t see why not and if the Tall Ships want to come here we’d do that as well – it’s all good stuff.”
“The thing I’d say and John Pollard would admit it probably is that has been badly handled from the start. It could have been a bottom up process rather than top down, it did come with a government health warning about Brexit and also it’s a bit reckless to use public money in this way.
“I know the initial amount of money isn’t alot, nevertheless, when you have got other priorities that’s what people think about
“I do understand the need for culture, I am a bit of a culture vulture myself”
Behind the scenes, the team the was being put together to write the ECOC bid has fallen apart and even if the initial stage of the European Bid went through (as had been agreed) the council were struggling to fill the position that had become the proverbial hot potato.
Julie Seyler, the highly regarded council official for culture who had done most of the groundwork so far in preparing the Euro bid and presented the case that persuaded Truro City Council, has handed her notice in at County Hall and will be leaving the council staff.
The council are still supposedly committed to organising a first stage bid for the European Capital of Culture bid over the summer and we were told at County Hall on Monday that the name of the person to lead that initial process would be announced this week.
Whether any initial bid now goes ahead will depend on the outcome of the discussions currently going on at County Hall about the new administration. Hopefully much of the paperwork can just be copied and pasted over to the 2025 bid.