Channel 4 announcement should act as catalyst for Leeds creative industry boost says expert

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Creative industries in Leeds need a boost if they are to be able to support the upcoming Channel 4 relocation to the city, an industry expert has said.

Leeds City Council’s executive board is set to discuss plans to offer grants to new creative businesses in the district, as a report warns work needs to be done to increase TV, film and production facilities and workspaces.

And Lisa Holdsworth, a Leeds-based TV writer and vice chair of Royal Television Society Yorkshire believes the council should do all it can to boost creative industries in the city.

Ms Holdsworth, whose TV credits include New Tricks, Emmerdale and Waterloo Road, said: “People working in these industries already go from job to job. I work from home, but if I were to employ someone, I would need space for them to work, so affordable work spaces are essential.

“Creative industries need edit suites, rehearsal spaces and studios and they need them to be in the city centre, because if someone is coming up on the train, you don’t want them having to sit on the bus after a four hour train journey.

“If we are going to take this seriously, then it’s about putting your best foot forward. There are currently empty shops in the city, and filling the space with creative people is something that the council needs to talk about seriously.

“If it is somewhere they can rehearse or do art it makes so much sense to come to the city.”

A report going before the authority’s executive committee suggests work needs to be done ro help the expansion of the TV, film and production capacity in the city.

Channel 4 announced it was moving its headquarters to Leeds earlier this month. Work to move offices up will take place over a number of years, but is expected to start in 2019.

Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake said: “Moving forward from the announcement, we are working closely with Channel 4 to ensure we use the momentum the news has generated as a catalyst for wider transformation of the TV, film and creative sectors across the city region, as well as a chance to boost our economy, create more local jobs and create opportunities for our young people to further enhance the diversity of the sector.”