Sheffield politicians and business leaders remain 'optimistic' despite Channel 4 knock-back

Dan Jarvis, Star Editor Nancy Fielder, Julie Dore and Mazher Iqbal as Sheffield launched it's Channel 4 bid earlier this month.
Dan Jarvis, Star Editor Nancy Fielder, Julie Dore and Mazher Iqbal as Sheffield launched it's Channel 4 bid earlier this month.
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Sheffield’s political and business leaders were putting on a brave face today after the city failed to make the shortlist for Channel 4’s new National HQ.

The city, along with Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Stafford, Stoke and York had been bidding for the new HQ in the city's digital corridor.

Channel 4

Channel 4

But in a statement issued by Channel 4, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and the West Midlands were selected to go forward to the presentation stage.

Many already have a significant presence from other broadcasters, with major BBC bases in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Sheffield is still in the running for one of the smaller creative hubs, however, along with Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle-Gateshead, Nottingham, and Stoke-on-Trent.

Speaking after the announcement, Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We have put forward a very strong bid which has united our diverse, cultural and creative city. This announcement is a catalyst for our next wave or development.

“Our unique offer includes the biggest theatre complex outside of London and a thriving film and digital sector

“We hve successfully demonstrated what a creative hub would mean for a generation of talented film, media and production students.

“While it is incredibly disappointing to be left off the shortlist for C4’s national HQ, we are pleased that we remain under consideration for the creative hubs, and we will be seeking to make the very best case for Sheffield as part of C4’s move.

“Now we will need to unite as a city once again to make sure that when C4 opens one of its creative hubs in 2019, it is in Sheffield.”

The move will see around 300 of the broadcaster’s 800 employers moved out of London to the new regional base, while two smaller regional production hubs are also planned.

Sheffield formally launched its bid to host the regional HQ at a press call close to the Park Hill Flats on May 11 - with regional mayor Dan Jarvis, Councillor Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment on Sheffield City Council, and young people from specialist media schools, Sheffield College and Sheffield Hallam University.

Reacting to the news, Mr Jarvis said: “The Sheffield City Region is a hotbed of creativity that we believe would have been the perfect fit for Channel Four’s headquarters, so I am disappointed that Sheffield has not been shortlisted.

“However, I am pleased that Sheffield is still in the running to host one of Channel Four’s creative hubs.

“We’re bold, innovative and not afraid to do things differently. We’re a place of makers, artists and performers, and we’re at the cutting-edge of digital technology. So, we must now work hard to build momentum and ensure that our region can benefit from Channel Four’s move out of London.

“While we may not be the chosen location for the new headquarters, we can still harness our efforts to bring Channel Four to Yorkshire. That’s why I’ll be working hard to bring a creative hub to Sheffield, and supporting the Leeds bid for the national HQ.”

Channel 4 say the new regional headquarters must be based in a city with a working population of more than 200,000, travel time to London of less than three hours and a high-level of physical and digital connectivity and infrastructure.

Its creative hubs must be based in a city with a working population of 75,000, a four-hour journey time to the capital and links to a well-developed independent television or digital production community.

A Sheffield BID spokesperson said: “Whilst it is disappointing that Sheffield has not been shortlisted to be home to Channel 4’s national headquarters, we are pleased to see that Sheffield could still attract investment from the broadcaster.

“Sheffield is a diverse, dynamic and creative city which put forward a strong bid. We hope the Channel 4 sees how strong and unique the city’s offer is, and chooses to open one of its new creative hubs in Sheffield.”

The final announcements will be made on October 1