THE failure of the Carlisle and the Borderlands bid to reach the 2025 UK City of Culture longlist has been branded 'disappointing' by the local MP - who has met with Arts Council England’s CEO to discuss championing investment into arts and culture in the city.

The ambitious bid was submitted by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) on behalf of the five different local authority areas of Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Carlisle City, Cumbria and Northumberland, who make up the Borderlands Partnership.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson said: “It’s a disappointment to hear that the Borderlands bid for the UK City of Culture 2025 has not made the next stage of the bid process, but it does not detract from the whole wealth of heritage arts and culture across Carlisle we can be proud of.”

On his meeting with the Arts Council's Darren Henley, Mr Stevenson added: “He came to visit partly to see the new exhibition, but also to meet with people from Tullie house and the supporters of Tullie House.

"I had a long conversation with him about the importance of Tullie House and the levelling up fund to get more funding to Tullie House.

“It’s not just a Carlisle museum and gallery, it’s recognised as being regionally important, the fact Darren came to visit it is important. I think the region is becoming more confident.

“You can walk from the castle to the Tullie House Museum, and to the cathedral, and we have the history from the Roman period, Victorians and Middle Ages, it’s brought to the attention of everyone that Carlisle and the borderlands region is a place that is full of great heritage and culture.”

SOSE chair Professor Russel Griggs said: “While disappointed that we have not made the 2025 UK City of Culture longlist, it has still been a thoroughly worthwhile exercise.

“It has helped showcase our passion and ambition to the rest of the country, particularly around the twin crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change.

“We pass on our congratulations and good luck to those areas and places who successfully made the 2025 UK City of Culture longlist.”