Screen Yorkshire supports Leeds Channel 4 bid over Sheffield

An artists' impression showing how the new Channel 4 headquarters could look in Sheffield.
An artists' impression showing how the new Channel 4 headquarters could look in Sheffield.
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Creative industries champion Screen Yorkshire has pledged its support to relocate Channel 4 headquarters to the Leeds City Region rather than Sheffield.

The Government said it will move the publicly-owned corporation out of its £100 million London headquarters to another base elsewhere in the UK to help drive creative jobs throughout the regions.

A number of northern cities are bidding to provide a base for the broadcaster, including the Steel City, Leeds City Region, Liverpool and Greater Manchester.

While the Sheffield bid has won support from many cultural and business leaders, Screen Yorkshire - which helps to get TV and film projects off the ground across the region - is firmly behind bringing the channel to the Leeds City Region.

In an opinion piece backing the bid for Leeds, Screen Yorkshire chief executive Sally Joynson said: "The Leeds City Region, comprising some three million people across Leeds, Bradford, York, Harrogate, Calderdale, Kirklees, Barnsley Craven, Wakefield and their hinterlands, is rich in ethnic and cultural diversity with distinctive voices and disparate communities.

"A move to this region would allow Channel 4 to pool talent and voices from this under-represented group; would deliver a far stronger regional voice and help it better reflect many underserved audiences, many of whom feel that their culture, politics, diversity and economics are not fully valued."

The Leeds City Region bid is being led by a collection of councils, industry and cultural leaders, along with the support Screen Yorkshire.

Sheffield's bid is spearheaded by Creative Sheffield, the council’s economic development function, with help from cultural and business players.

A council spokesperson said bid leaders were aware Screen Yorkshire would be supporting the Leeds bid early on.

They pointed out that Sheffield's case is supported by a wide range of cultural, education and business leaders, including both universities, Warp Films and Sheffield Digital.

Those behind the bid estimate a move to Sheffield could be worth £1.4 billion to the city’s economy and create 4050 jobs.

A successful bid would also see the broadcaster move into new headquarters built on vacant land near the railway station in Sheaf Square. The channel is also being offered 80, 000 sq ft of office space in the nearby Digital Campus on Sheaf Street.

Channel 4 bosses have expressed concern about the relocation and argued it would be costly to move out of the capital.

The bids have been submitted but the Government has not yet revealed a timescale for when the winner will be announced.