redmondChester and Hull are among eleven places from across the UK making a bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2017.

The other cities are East Kent, Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, Leicester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton,  Southend-on-Sea, Swansea Bay, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Londonderry, which is the UK City of Culture 2013, was the first place to be awarded the inaugural title for what is to be a once every four years occasion. It is believed the initiative was created by the Government following the success of  Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Announcing the list of contenders, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The competition brings together communities and creates economic and social benefits and I am pleased to see so many local authorities and different partners coming together.”

All 11 places must formally submit their initial bids by 30 April.

A short-list will be announced in June.

The bids will be considered by an independent panel, chaired by Phil Redmond, founder of Mersey TV and the creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks. Redmond was a key figure in Liverpool’s year as European Cultural Capital.

Redmond said: “The UK City of Culture can be a real catalyst for change and I’m delighted so many places have registered their interest in the competition for 2017.”