THE case for Channel 4 relocating its headquarters to Yorkshire is a convincing one that could have significant economic spin-offs for the media, digital and creative industries – the ripple effect from the creation of Media City at Salford Quays has extended far beyond Greater Manchester.
It would also re-enforce the message that the HQ of key public services, and broadcasters, should not be the exclusive preserve of London. As the Government discovered when it tried to scale back the presence of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in Sheffield, costs here are far cheaper than the capital and the benefits far greater.
Yet, while Sheffield and Hull, last year’s UK City of Culture, are submitting polished and persuasive bids to host Channel 4, the Leeds campaign has also received a significant boost from a planning and design consultancy which highlights the advantages that could be accrued from the West Yorkshire city’s universities.
The research also cites a highly skilled workforce and affordable housing as other advantages. This is significant. For, while Leeds has witnessed notable growth in recent times, it invariably struggles to articulate the city’s prowess as a commercial centre.
Although Channel 4 is the focus of attention now, Leeds – and other Yorkshire cities – will only secure critical inward investment from the public and private sector if they put together bids that are so slick, and so thorough, that decision-makers can’t say no to this region’s overtures under any circumstances.
Others, like Manchester do it, Yorkshire must now play catch-up, starting with Channel 4.