Think we’re poor for culture? Then come and see for yourself – South Tyneside throws down gauntlet after ‘illogical’ report

Coun Alan Kerr is among those to hit out at the list.
Coun Alan Kerr is among those to hit out at the list.

Councillors have hit back at an ‘illogical’ list claiming South Tyneside is one of the worst places for culture in the country – and have invited those who compiled it to visit the borough.

The Heritage Index, compiled by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), placed the borough as the ninth-worst in the UK for cultural experiences.

Coun Iain Malcolm is among those to hit out at the list.

Coun Iain Malcolm is among those to hit out at the list.

However, South Tyneside Council has now demanded that the RSA, as well as the secretary of state for culture, visit the area to see what if has to offer.

A motion will go before councillors on Thursday, and at the meeting, at South Shields Town Hall, the borough’s MPs will be asked to seek a debate in the House of Commons to raise their concerns at the study.

In the agenda for the meeting signed by seven Councillors, including Coun Iain Malcolm and Coun Alan Kerr, it is insisted that South Tyneside should be pleased about the culture it has to offer.

It reads: “This deeply flawed report has caused understandable anger amongst borough residents and regional cultural organisations, who find it hard to understand how the RSA could justify their claims about a borough with such a rich cultural heritage.

This deeply flawed report has caused understandable anger amongst borough residents and regional cultural organisations

Council agenda

“South Tyneside has one of the richest histories of any borough with more cultural activities, outstanding public parks and amenities and deep appreciation of local heritage than most places in England.

“From Roman sites to beautiful beaches and award-winning parks, as well as the world’s largest half-marathon, our hugely popular Summer Festival and events like the ‘Foghorn Requiem’ and the BBC’s ‘Great North Passion’, South Tyneside is an outstanding place for heritage and culture.

“To have overlooked our unparalleled heritage, culture, and areas of outstanding natural beauty shows that this RSA report is both misguided and illogical.”

The list was calculated by recording different areas’ cultural assets and dividing them by its size.

South Shields' culture has been voted one of the 10 worst in the country.

South Shields' culture has been voted one of the 10 worst in the country.