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Leeds beats Birmingham and Manchester for relocated Channel 4

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Leeds is to become the location of Channel 4’s new national headquarters, it has been announced.

The city’s bid beat other proposals from Birmingham and Manchester.

Bristol and Glasgow are to be the locations of Channel 4’s two new creative hubs.

Combined, the new national headquarters and creative hubs will employ about 300 people when fully established.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake tweeted she was “delighted and thrilled” with Channel 4’s decision.

Alex Mahon, Channel 4 chief executive, said: “Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region. Locating our National HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the North of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the North East and East of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.

“Establishing a creative hub in Bristol gives Channel 4 the opportunity to build on thriving production communities in the city and to partner with Cardiff and harness the power of the wider creative industry across the South West and Wales. The city also put forward exciting social mobility proposals to develop talent across the wider region.

“Glasgow has a well-established production sector across multiple genres, and locating a creative hub in the city will give Channel 4 the opportunity to tap into the rich cultural diversity of Scotland and also allow us to exploit the city’s strong connectivity with Belfast and the Northern Ireland production sector.

“The quality of pitches from all the cities involved in the final stage of the process was exceptionally high and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved for the effort and passion they put in – particularly Andy Street (Con) for Birmingham, Huw Thomas (Lab) in Cardiff, and Sir Richard Leese (Lab) in Greater Manchester. I hope we can continue discussions with all of them about how we can develop new partnerships with each of their cities – particularly since we will be spending up to £250m more in the nations and regions over the next five years and want to work with producers and talent in all of these areas.”

Responding, Sir Richard, Manchester City Council leader, said he was “disappointed” with the decision. “However, our ambitions are undiminished and we will continue to pursue opportunities to further grow jobs, opportunity and creativity in the city,”  he added.

A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester CA said they were “proud” of the bid they submitted but expressed “heartfelt congratulations” to Leeds. 

Mr Street, West Midlands CA mayor, expressed “huge disappointment” on Twitter that Birmingham’s bid had not been successful but added: “However, the work that has gone into the bid has not been wasted. As we progressed through we saw a growing sense of collaboration and commitment across the region.”

Jack Hunter, researcher at thinktank IPPR North, said: “This is brilliant news for Yorkshire and the north of England. The Leeds City Region is already a dynamic hub for culture and the creative industries and today’s announcement is a big symbolic investment in its future.

“Channel 4 now has the opportunity to embed itself in a great northern city region, to understand the experience of people and communities here, and to ensure that northern voices are better represented nationally.

“Today’s news also means more job opportunities for graduates from the many excellent creative and media courses at northern universities, without having to leave the region. And a big creative centre like this in the north will help to create further activity in broadcasting and related sectors.”



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