TWO Yorkshire cities have been shortlisted to host the Great Exhibition of the North.
Bradford and Sheffield have made the shortlist alongside Blackpool and a joint bid from Newcastle and Gateshead.
The Great Exhibition was launched by previous chancellor George Osborne to showcase the best of the North of England as part of his wider ‘northern powerhouse’ drive.
Bradford has submitted a bid centred on the National Media Museum with City Hall, St George’s Hall and Alhambra Theatre also hosting events with City Park providing a space for 10,000 people.
Kersten England, chief executive at Bradford Council, said: “It is excellent news that we have been shortlisted.
“Bradford has strengths in collaboration and partnership working – we’re best placed to welcome partners across the North to showcase northern excellence and we’ve received fantastic support for our bid from businesses and organisations in the district and beyond.”
Sheffield is proposing to host events across the city centre with “satellite” shows also taking place in neighbouring parts of South Yorkshire.
Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield and part of the bid team said: ““The Great Exhibition is a brilliant opportunity for the North to demonstrate cultural excellence and ambition for the future.
“Sheffield City Region has talented, creative people, stunning landscape and some of the best public realm in the UK – we have the perfect stage from which to showcase the very best of the North to the World and we are thrilled to be shortlisted.”
The Government has promised £5m of funding for the event with organisers expected to find additional sponsorship and other sources of financial support.
A further £15m will be put into a “legacy fund” connected to the event.
The Great Exhibition of the North is due to take place in July and August 2018.
Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of regional tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, has been asked by the Government to chair the exhibition board.
He said: “The quality of all nine submissions was incredibly strong and I’d like to congratulate the four towns and cities who have made it through to the final shortlist.
“I and the Great Exhibition Board are very much looking forward to meeting the teams behind the four shortlisted bids to hear their exciting proposals in person. This is an incredible opportunity to really showcase the creativity and culture we have here in the North and I know whoever wins will thoroughly embrace that vision.”
The shortlisted bids will be assessed over the summer and an announcement about the winning city is expected in October.
Harrogate and Halifax were among the other towns which had expressed an interest.