Confirmed: Norwich WILL make bid to be new regional home for Channel 4

PUBLISHED: 15:48 09 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:55 09 March 2018

Channel 4 will move 300 staff out of London and establish a new national headquarters (Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire.)

Channel 4 will move 300 staff out of London and establish a new national headquarters (Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire.)

Norwich will make a bid to be one of Channel 4’s new creative hubs outside London, the leader of the city council has confirmed.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters said Norwich could make a “compelling case” to become one of the broadcaster’s new smaller centres as it seeks to become less London-centric and better reflect its regions.

It came as Channel 4 revealed plans to establish a second headquarters outside the capital – with Birmingham believed to be the frontrunner – along with two further regional creative hubs, which will see some 300 jobs moved by 2019.

The latest proposal is a compromise on the government’s original demand that Channel 4 move all of its operations out of London, its home since it was founded in 1982.

That fragmentation could play into Norwich’s hands, believe those behind the bid, given the strength of the creative industries in the city and the logistical difficulties that accommodating an 800-employee organisation would have posed.

Mr Waters said: “Our sense was that we would have been against stiff competition from the likes of Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham under the original directive.

“This gives us a chance to make a compelling offer and I would like to think that we have a very good chance of being successful.

“When Channel 4 was launched it was a sparky, edgy, experimental TV channel. We also have those qualities and that creativity in the city.”

He said work would begin immediately on pulling together the key players for any bid, including the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts, along with other cultural heavyweights.

In the bid letter, submitted to the government last May, when discussions over Channel 4’s future began, Mr Waters made the case for Norwich as having “one of the strongest creative offerings in the country”, as England’s only Unesco World City of Literature, and being home to England’s National Centre for Writing, the UEA’s renowned creative writing course, and a host of existing TV and media companies.

Norwich is likely to face competition from Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Salford, Sheffield and Stoke, among others.

The bid process will be launched in April, with decision on the creative hub locations due in the third quarter of this year.

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