A BOOKMAKERS has halved the odds of Hastings and 1066 Country taking the City of Culture title in 2017.
Earlier this month, William Hill made the Hastings and Bexhill UK City of Culture bid the rank outsider, with odds of 25/1.
The odds infuriated Hastings Borough Council leader Jeremy Birch who questioned what the firm knew about ‘culture’.
Last week it was revealed that Battle, Rye and rural Rother had joined the bid, which was rebranded the Hastings and 1066 Country bid.
Since then William Hill has slashed the odds to 12/1.
Speaking to the Observer, Joe Crilly, spokesman for William Hill, said: “The Hastings bid has been over halved in price over the last few days, although I do not think that this is because of the rebranding.
“Last week, we saw a little bit of opposition from Hastings, including the councillor of the area.
“They appear to have come out swinging and placed a couple of wagers and we have just over halved their price.
“They were 25/1 outsiders, but now, are in to 12/1.”
This means Hastings and 1066 Country has overtaken rivals Southend-on-Sea (14/1) and East Kent (16/1).
Chester remains the favourite at 4/1.
Eleven places have put themselves forward for the 2017 City of Culture.
A shortlist of four will be announced in June and a final decision will be made in November.
The Hastings and 1066 Country bid is being led by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) with support from Rother District Council.
A delegation will travel to London on Thursday (May 23) to face a panel of judges.
The five-strong team will travel to Farringdon to take part in the ‘classification session.’
They will face questions from an independent panel, appointed by the Department for Culture.
Those behind the bid have promised ‘a spectacular event’ in October 2017 to mark the 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings if the bid is successful.
Current odds: 4/1 Chester; 5/1 Leicester; 5/1 Swansea Bay; 6/1 Hull; 8/1 Aberdeen; 8/1 Portsmouth and Southampton; 10/1 Dundee; 10/1 Plymouth; 12/1 Hastings and 1066 Country; 14/1 Southend on Sea; 16/1 East Kent.