DUNFERMLINE and Fife's bid to become part of the City of Culture in 2025 has fallen at the first hurdle.

The local authority's joint bid with Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils was one of 20 submitted but it didn't make the long list.

Civic and culture leaders tried to put a brave face on it, insisting that the Tay Cities Region’s cultural ambitions remain high despite not being in the running for the UK City of Culture title.

In a statement, Fife Council co-leaders David Ross and David Alexander said: "Our bid was strong and we've worked together as a partnership to bring it forward.

"We're disappointed it will not go further this time but the work that has been done so far will bring its own benefits to the region."

For the first time in the competition, groups of towns or areas can bid for the title, currently held by Coventry.

On Friday the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport revealed the eight bids – the only Scottish one is Stirling – that have been selected to progress to the next stage of the judging process.

They will each receive £40,000 to help develop a full application.

A panel of judges, led by Sir Phil Redmond, will announce a shortlist in the spring, before the winner is revealed in May.

The Tay Cities Region was one of 20 areas to submit an expression of interest in July.

The four councils had worked in partnership on the bid, together with Leisure & Culture Dundee, Angus Alive, On Fife and the culture trusts of Perth & Kinross, with more than 40 people from across the area discussing their work, ideas and how to collaborate in future.

Angus Council leader, David Fairweather, said: “It’s a shame but it doesn’t change the amazing cultural offer available across the Tay Cities region.

“The submission of our expression of interest has reiterated that culture, and the tourism it generates, are key aspects of our continued economic success for the region.

"By coming together we can create an unrivalled experience for our residents and visitors alike."

Perth & Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle said: “Although we're disappointed not to be through to the final round, the four local authorities have taken this opportunity to create stronger links between the cultural organisations and creative individuals, fostering a new understanding of our strengths and strategic aims and developing some exciting projects which we will continue to plan for.

“These will help make Perth and Kinross and the wider Tay Cities region an even better place to live and work.”

And Dundee City Council leader John Alexander added: “We should be really proud of the Tay City Region’s fantastic cultural offering. It has already delivered much in terms of helping to harness the area’s social and economic potential and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

“While it would have been great to take forward a City of Culture bid, our collective ambition is undiminished. With major developments to come like the Eden Project here in Dundee, we’ve got lots to look forward to.”