Leeds & West Yorkshire

Lighthouse landmark in Leeds' European culture bid

Civic Hall illuminated by the incredible Out of the Aire Image copyright Leeds City Council
Image caption Tens of thousands of people turned out for this year's Light Night

A full-sized lighthouse will be built in Leeds if it wins its bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023.

Details of the year-long programme have been unveiled by the council ahead of submitting a formal bid on 27 October.

It is expected some £12m of council cash would go towards the £62m cost of setting up and delivering the range of activities.

Building a lighthouse on the south bank and extending the Night Light event feature in the campaign bid.

Image caption Leeds West Indian Carnival celebrated its 50 anniversary this year

Every year, two cities are designated Capital of Culture by the European Union and organise a series of cultural events.

Being chosen can bring increased investment, create jobs and boost the local economy.

Leeds' rivals for the honour include Belfast, Dundee and Milton Keynes.

Judges will announce the shortlist in December with the winner being announced later next year.

Other proposed events to mark the year

Image copyright Leeds City Council
Image caption Light Night, now in its 13th year, currently runs over two days
  • Light Night Leeds would become a week-long festival
  • 33 shipping containers filled with things to inspire neighbourhoods to play and create together
  • A large-scale performance project on buses involving thousands of people aged over 60
  • The planting of thousands of trees
  • Building a Leeds children's cinema
Image copyright Kaiser Chiefs
Image caption Leeds band The Kaiser Chiefs are backing the bid

Leeds' bid highlights the social and economic divisions in the city and states the challenge is to create a new sense of community which "does not involve stepping away from openness and internationalism".

The council has said the events would provide different environments to explore the role of culture in tackling these inequalities.

Delivering the bid, council leader Judith Blake said: "Culture can weave us together, celebrating our differences and tackling difficult issues that we face together as a city.

"This is the transformation at the heart of our bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023."

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