Weymouth and Portland town councils have voted in support of making a joint bid to become Dorset's 'capital of culture'.

Dorset's capital of culture is part of the County of Culture, an initiative which was created by the Arts Development Company to fund cultural activities and events for the year.

The scheme will require both Weymouth and Portland to put forward £15,000 if their bid is successful, which will be matched by Dorset Council. 

At its latest full town council meeting, Portland councillors voted to support a bid for the annual scheme, and at a simultaneous meeting, Weymouth Town Council elected to do the same.

The councillors who spoke at the Portland meeting were unanimously supportive of the move, with the only real point of contention being raised over the public's willingness to pay the £15k.

Cllr Sandy West said: "I think it would be a tremendous thing for Portland. It will show we are more than just the Bill."

Cllr Carolyn Parkes said: "I think we will be accused of being short-sighted for not grasping this opportunity."

Cllr Pete Roper said: "It is a fantastic opportunity to show off Portland, but it is a large amount of money and there should be consultation with the public."

The council voted against an amendment by Cllr Roper to hold a public consultation before making the bid, primarily due to the imminent application deadline of June 26.

Speaking during the democratic half-hour, Kim Wilcocks from Island Community Action and Catherine Bennett from the B-Side festival both gave vocal support for Portland's application for the scheme.

Cllr Kate Wheller supported the bid at the Weymouth meeting.

She said: "I would like to recommend that we go forward with this bid.

"It is a great opportunity to enhance the reputation of Weymouth county and country-wide.

"We already know we live in the best place in the world, let's make sure everyone else knows."

The first capital of culture is Bridport, which will pilot the scheme for the second half of 2024. It will create a cultural programme for residents and visitors between July and December.

Organisers for the pilot event will also produce a how-to guide for future towns which are chosen as the capital of culture.

This round of applications is for the first full year of the scheme and will begin in 2025, with a two-stage application process for any towns, villages or hamlets in Dorset to enter.