Croydon Council has made its pitch as to why it should be crowned the 2023 London Borough of Culture.

The initiative, sponsored by the Mayor of London, previously saw Waltham Forest and Brent each received more than £1m to deliver a huge programme of events.

Croydon missed out on that occasion but is ramping up its campaign to win the title for 2023.

The Croydon Guardian posed the question to the council as to why it should be named the winner.

Here is what Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport had to say:

This is Croydon is the name we have given to our bid to be the London Borough of Culture in 2023.

Croydon is a borough on the rise. Once dubbed ‘Edge City’ with its brutalist architecture, our town is growing and transforming more rapidly than ever before.

And as we regenerate we are proud to be known not for only concrete towers, but for an ever-changing skyline - and as a place of energy, creativity and pride.

Culture has been absolutely at the forefront of our regeneration. I announced our Borough of Culture bid as we reopened Croydon’s iconic Fairfield Halls, following a multi-million pound heritage restoration of this magnificent venue, which has attracted new theatre companies like Talawa and SAVVY joining London Mozart Players, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chineke! Orchestra to offer a diverse programme that is truly inclusive and reflective of our community.

But Fairfield reopening is only the beginning of our cultural ambitions.

We have been working with a huge range of artists, organisations and venues, locally and nationally, to create new performance spaces and partnerships across our borough.

Our cultural network has flourished as we have helped dozens of grassroots arts groups to grow, with council match-funding to help them leverage grants from organisations like Arts Council England.

As one of the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zones, we have seen an increase in new studio spaces and creative businesses in our town.

Central Croydon now has six visual arts galleries, while The Croydon Collection of street art is one of the largest in Europe, free and available to everyone 24/7. It was great to see Banksy choose us as the home for his recent installation – one of his largest ever in the UK.

We are Croydon Music City. This is the borough where punk, dubstep and drill were all born, and as we celebrate this rich heritage and develop as a centre for music making and music production, we are experiencing a renaissance in live music, with a surge in major events this year.

From the sell-out Cro Cro Land, bringing guitar bands back to the borough with women equally represented in the line-up and crew, to The Ends at Lloyd Park (nominated under three categories in the UK Festival Awards), our festival scene is flourishing. The record turnouts at Croydon Pridefest and Croydon Mela 2019 -attended by 22,000 people this summer - demonstrate that Croydon’s great strength lies in its diversity and its inclusivity.

This applies not only to music but right across the arts scene. We are proud to be one of only five Youth Performance Partnerships in England, we are creating thousands of new opportunities in theatre, particularly for young people from our most deprived neighbourhoods and BAME backgrounds.

This is Croydon is our plan to build on all of our successes but also put forward a programme that meets some of the challenges we still face. Through ground-breaking cultural events and experiences, we will address important issues such as climate change, inequality and mental health – issues where Croydon has already been leading the way through innovation.

This is Croydon will show the rest of London and the world how the arts can lead system change through and with local communities in order to empower our citizens to write their own futures and to tell their own stories.