Channel 4 could be relocated to Yorkshire – but leaders are keeping tight-lipped as to York’s role in the plan.

Today (Friday 11 May) the Leeds City Region – which includes York – has submitted its bid to Channel 4 for the broadcasters’ new National HQ.

The bid responds to the broadcaster’s “4 All the UK” plan to support investment and jobs outside London.

It builds on a number of key themes including the region’s strong pool of young, diverse, creative and digitally-savvy talent.

The document also highlights the opportunity this investment provides to address the imbalance in creative sector investment currently focused on London and the western side of the UK, and further boost the vibrant community of independent producers.

Where does York fit in?

The York Central site from the air. Photograph © Bing Maps

Previous City of York Council leader David Carr said the city would put in a separate bid to bring the HQ to York Central.

But that decision was shelved, in favour of going in with the Leeds City Region – a conglomeration which includes York, Harrogate and Selby councils as well as various West Yorkshire authorities.

YorkMix asked York council what this city’s contribution would be – and the council referred us to the Leeds City Region.

We asked the LCR for a copy of the bid document, to find out what York’s role is supposed to be.

But a Leeds City Region spokesman said:

Unfortunately the rules of the bidding process forbid us sharing the bid documents or detailing anything specific about the roles at the minute.

York ‘ruled out’

In a recent analysis for the Centre For Cities, researcher Adeline Bailly considered the competing bids.

She said Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield, Stafford, Stoke and York are among the cities and regions who have submitted a proposal.

The key considerations for bidders are these:

  • a working population of at least 200,000
  • up to three hours journey time to London
  • a high level of physical and digital connectivity and infrastructure.

She wrote:

The essential criteria rule out York, Plymouth and Hull on a population basis.

It would suggest York would play a minor role to Leeds in the joint bid.

Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Roger Marsh said today: “Opportunities such as this – ones which can truly transform a sector and impact on the lives of everyone who lives here – only come once in a lifetime.

“I believe firmly that our bid highlights the strength of our creative sector and the unique modern British voice that our young, diverse, creative and digital native population offers to the broadcaster.”

Now that the bids are in Channel 4 will be notifying all of the shortlisted bids at the end of May before moving forward with the process which is due to be completed and the successful bids notified in October 2018.