Leeds bids to be regional hub for Channel 4

Decisions over whether Channel 4 makes programmes such as Crystal Maze could be made in Leeds
Decisions over whether Channel 4 makes programmes such as Crystal Maze could be made in Leeds
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PARTS oF Channel 4 could move to Leeds under ambitious plans set out today.

The Government has been told moving part of the broadcaster’s digital arm and some of the responsbility for commissioning programmes to the city would ensure television better represents the North.

A bid to be the new home for parts of Channel 4 has been submitted by Leeds and its neighbours, a group known as the Leeds City Region.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our bid addresses the huge imbalance that’s been allowed to develop, with virtually all investment going into the western side of the UK.

“This is not a sustainable position and we are confident that working in partnership with Channel 4 our proposals can bring positive impact and benefits to a very wide geographic area, namely the 18.2m people living on the eastern side of the UK who are currently underrepresented.

“We are convinced our ambition matches that of Channel 4: we’re both innovative challengers who like to do things differently.”

At the recent general election, the Conservatives promised to relocate Channel 4 outside London.

However, it is understood a wholesale move at this stage is unlikely and the Government’s current consultation on Channel 4’s future is more likely to lead to parts of the broadcaster’s operations leaving London.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “We all recognise the benefit that a Channel 4 investment could bring. Culture, diversity and innovation runs through the DNA of Leeds City Region and is inextricably linked to the people who live here and what they do. We have the creative talent, digital expertise, great places, convenient transport links and world-class education establishments.”

Sheffield and Birmingham have alsoe expressed an interest.