City Region Leaders Show Support for Channel 4 Relocation

Following the announcement last week that Leeds had been shortlisted for both the broadcaster�s new out of London HQ and a creative hub, the elected members from Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York councils outlined the collective strengths of the region during a public meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Cllr Judith Blake Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

�I believe we are all united and proud that as a region we have been shortlisted alongside Manchester and Birmingham for the next stage of the process to become home to Channel 4�s new national headquarters.

�The strength of the bid we�ve put in, looking at the extraordinary talent we already have in the region and building on the fact we have the youngest age demographic in the country shows that it will benefit all of the districts in the City Region. This will continue to be our case moving forward with the next phase of negotiations.�

Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council added:

""My city has a strong cultural offer and if Leeds is successful [in attracting the broadcaster] it will only boost the region�s cultural offer. The potential impact this investment could have on the creative arts in our district and beyond is fantastic.�

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees echoed Cllr Box's statement saying:

�This is not just about Leeds, it�s about all the City Region. Channel 4 locating a new headquarters here would provide new opportunities for the City Region to create a new creative economy which puts the whole region on the map not just nationally but internationally.�

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council stated:

�The vibrancy of our creative industries has come across throughout the process and I echo what colleagues from across the City Region have said about the potential this brings. For Bradford in particular which has the youngest population in the UK, the opportunities this could offer our young people and the young people throughout Leeds City Region and Yorkshire are transformational.�

Cllr Robert Light, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority�s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee and a councillor for Kirklees concluded the discussion by saying:

�I remember Channel 4 launching in 1982 and they were ground breaking! Our bid has the opportunity to help them once again be ground breaking, projecting themselves forward into a new dimension.�

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Waller, Deputy Leader of City of York Council said:

�The shortlisted locations for the national headquarters are all from large scale geographies. It�s important that we focus upon the impact that bringing Channel 4 to the region can have on all our communities and also that we highlight the vast array of facilities such as those at the University of York which can not only benefit the broadcaster but can benefit from further growth in our creative industries.�

Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council added:

�In a week which has seen the first anniversary of the Piece Hall reopening, I think it�s right that we look to the future and how we can re-energise our towns and cities through the creative sector. As my colleagues from across the region said the opportunity provided by Channel 4 coming to the region happens once in a lifetime and is a prize we must aim for.�

Members of Combined Authority are the latest to show their support for the Leeds City Region bid following both industry leaders including Andrew Sheldon from True North and academics from the region�s nine universities including Prof Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University.

Speaking recently to the Financial Times, Alex Mahon stated that the move will ensure the Channel will be better positioned to connect the young diverse audiences it is committed to serving as part of its public mandate.

Channel 4 is expected to announce its chosen locations for both the national headquarters and creative hubs in the autumn this year.