Channel 4 relocating to Leeds would “enrich people’s lives” and bring “incalculable benefits” to the region, a panel of influential politicians has claimed.
The broadcaster has been instructed to leave London, and is thought to be close to announcing its new home from a final shortlist of Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham.
And members of WYCA, which oversees infrastructure and transport projects in the region, said they believed the benefits such a move could bring to Yorkshire could be “incalculable”.
Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region enterprise partnership said: “It would be a huge win for the city of Leeds. It would also be a great achievement for the wider city region.
“Channel 4 was set up to be different. And coming to this part of the country is something very different.
“We have learned more about the strengths of our creative community. Their relocation here and investment would actually transform the creative industries on the eastern side of the country.”
“It’s really exciting to be in the last three,” added Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe. “We are a young and diverse region. Hopefully they will make the right decision shortly – the whole of the region would benefit from that.
Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake said: “Whatever the outcome, it is a huge achievement to get as far as we have. I would like to thank the partners in the region that have made such an important contribution.
“We are in a good place to recognise how strong our creative sector is.”
Wakefield Council leader Peter Box believed the broadcaster moving to Leeds would have wider benefits for the rest of the region
He said: “After the last time we talked about this. A constituent said they disagreed and that this is an attempt by Leeds to take over everything.
“I hugely disagree. The creative arts enriches peoples lives, it can uplift people and raise their spirits, and sometimes we forget that. We shouldn’t always just talk about economics.
“I totally support this bid, and I agree it will help all of us. It will show how collectively we work together. We want to help the economy and enrich peoples lives as well.”
Coun Shabir Pandor, leader of Kirklees Council, spoke highly of the creativity of young people in his district, adding the bid could become “a springboard for other benefits.”
Coun Robert Light, leader of Kirklees Council’s Conservatives, said: “The direct economic and social benefits of this is not just about Leeds and West Yorkshire – it is a statement for the north of England. It would be hugely beneficial.
“The incalculable benefits about our social fabric, economy and reputation – we will say ‘this is a good place to locate your business, large or small’.
Summing up, Coun Hinchcliffe added: “We are a region with lots of stories to tell that Channel 4 wouldn’t get anywhere else. There is a lot to gain for stories from our people to be heard far and wide.”
Channel 4 is owned by the government. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is overseeing the planned move, said an announcement is expected to be made later this year.