Aberdeen could bid to become UK City of Culture 2025

How Union Terrace Gardens could look after a major revamp.

Aberdeen could bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 after support was pledged from across the political divide, the Evening Express can reveal.

Leading councillors from the SNP, Labour and Conservative parties have said they would back a move to apply for the accolade.

After a failed effort for the title for 2017, it is believed the Granite City could “grasp” the chance of securing the 2025 bid.

SNP-group leader Councillor Stephen Flynn committed his party to pursuing the title.

He said: “If the SNP win a majority in May it’s certainly something we would be keen to do – we’ve seen how the title has transformed other cities across these isles and, with the right leadership and direction, we believe Aberdeen can grasp such opportunities.”

The multi-million-pound scheme has seen a boost to jobs, events and visitors in the two cities it has been held in since its launch in 2013.

Final applications for a 2021 bid are due by the end of April but this was previously ruled out by finance chief Willie Young as he didn’t believe the city was in a good position.

He has now put his party’s weight behind a move to bid for the 2025 status.

But he added he was surprised at the SNP’s eagerness to pursue it – given First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s recent pledge to have a second independence referendum by the end of spring 2019.

He said: “Rejoice, rejoice – it’s music to my ears.

“The Labour party would definitely back this. We are grateful to the SNP for showing their commitment to the United Kingdom by proposing Aberdeen should enter the race for the UK city of Culture 2025. It’s absolutely right that Aberdeen can be a showcase for culture.”

Cllr Flynn added: “We’ll take no lectures from a man whose administration has overseen the closure of independent music venues and made it harder than ever for new and local artists to establish themselves.”

Ross Thompson MSP and councillor for Hazlehead/ Ashley/ Queen’s Cross echoed Cllr Young’s comments.

He added: “We supported it last time and we would do again because we want to showcase the city and bring people to Aberdeen.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Martin Greig said more discussion would have to be had with party colleagues before making a commitment.

The scheme was inspired by the 2008 European Capital of Culture which saw run-down parts of Liverpool revitalised.

Hull, this year’s City of Culture, received £32 million of funding for the project and in one week of its launch it was reported to have attracted 342,000 people to the opening events