Mid­lands on short­list for Chan­nel 4 na­tional HQ Birm­ing­ham and Coven­try move closer to win­ning bid

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

CHAN­NEL 4 has named Birm­ing­ham as one of its can­di­dates to be­come the broad­caster’s new head­quar­ters.

The sec­ond city and Coven­try made it to the short­list of po­ten­tial new homes for the na­tional broad­caster.

It means the West Mid­lands pro­ceeds to the next stage of the con­test to choose the site of Chan­nel 4’s planned Na­tional HQ.

The re­gion’s lead­ers, in­clud­ing West Mid­lands mayor Andy Street, will make a pre­sen­ta­tion to Chan­nel 4 man­agers in June, and the broad­caster’s fi­nal de­ci­sion will be an­nounced in Oc­to­ber.

But the West Mid­lands faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion, with Bris­tol, Cardiff, Glas­gow, Greater Manch­ester, Leeds and Liver­pool also on the short­list.

Chan­nel 4 is to open a “na­tional head­quar­ters” to op­er­ate along­side its ex­ist­ing head­quar­ters in Lon­don, and two smaller hubs.

If the West Mid­lands fails in its bid to host the head­quar­ters then it could po­ten­tially host one of the hubs in­stead.

Chan­nel 4 says 300 moved out of Lon­don.

The na­tional head­quar­ters will in­clude a state-of-the-art stu­dio that will be used to pro­duce Chan­nel 4 pro­grammes and events as well as live broad­casts.

There will also be a new dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion unit to cre­ate short dig­i­tal con­tent tar­geted at young au­di­ences.

Chan­nel 4 News also plans to coan­chor from out­side its ex­ist­ing Lon­don stu­dio ev­ery night, open­ing a news­room in a city out­side Lon­don.

And the broad­caster will in­crease the amount it spends com­mis­sion­ing pro­grammes made out­side Lon­don by £250 mil­lion.

This is ex­pected to sup­port up to 3,000 ad­di­tional pro­duc­tion jobs. jobs will be

The West Mid­lands Com­bined Author­ity (WMCA), which is chaired by the mayor, drew up a bid fo­cus­ing on po­ten­tial sites in Birm­ing­ham and Coven­try, high­light­ing the strengths of the West Mid­lands un­der the slo­gan of “Get Closer”.

Mr Street said: “Both Birm­ing­ham and Coven­try of­fer pow­er­ful ar­gu­ments to Chan­nel 4 in terms of loca- tion, tal­ent and the youth and di­ver­sity of the pop­u­la­tion and I am pleased this has been recog­nised.

“Now the hard work re­ally starts as we be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions in earnest to de­velop the most com­pelling case pos­si­ble to the broad­caster.”

A de­ci­sion on the site of the new na­tional head­quar­ters, and the two smaller “hubs”, is ex­pected on Oc­to­ber 1.

Brighton, New­cas­tle & Gateshead, Belfast, Not­ting­ham, Sh­effield and Stoke-on-Trent have also been short­listed as po­ten­tial hub lo­ca­tions – but they are not in the run­ning to be­come Chan­nel 4’s Na­tional HQ.

Peaky Blin­ders cre­ator Steven Knight and Citzen’s Khan star Adil Ray have backed the West Mid­lands

Both Birm­ing­ham and Coven­try of­fer pow­er­ful ar­gu­ments

bid, which is sup­ported by the re­gion’s arts and cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and MPs.

Busi­ness lead­ers in Greater ming­ham also wel­comed an­nounce­ment.

Paul Faulkner, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Greater Birm­ing­ham Cham­bers of Com­merce, said: “It’s good that we have passed this first hur­dle, although the strength of the re­gion’s of­fer­ing means that it should no longer be a sur­prise.

“The Cham­ber, our mem­bers and the whole busi­ness com­mu­nity is very ex­cited by the op­por­tu­nity and we all look for­ward to play­ing our part in the next stage of the process that we hope will ul­ti­mately see C4 HQ here in the re­gion.” Birthe

Mayor Andy Street

> Peaky Blin­ders cre­ator Steven Knight sup­ports the bid > Chan­nel 4 has been told it must cre­ate a new na­tional head­quar­ters out­side of Lon­don

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