Sheffield bids for Channel 4
14 July 2017
A Government consultation into the impact of Channel 4 outside London has generated wide-spread interest in the possible relocation of their Victoria, London headquarters. News of over a dozen cities expressing an interest in attracting Channel 4 HQ broke last week, but it was Sheffield, Birmingham and Liverpool that featured most prominently in the story.
Sheffield has been bold in its bid, making a compelling case to the broadcaster which highlights the economic, university/industry collaboration and cultural benefits of a new relationship – but the offer goes beyond a zero-cost move to the city; it proposes a partnership to develop a national institute of digital talent and technology, stimulating new industries and cultivating talent.
A Sheffield HQ for Channel 4 could bring up to 4,050 highly-skilled jobs to the city by 2027, create an additional £1bn for the economy over the next 10 years, and be achieved at no cost to the broadcaster. In its approach to the broadcaster, Sheffield has offered to give Channel 4 the keys to Acero, the latest building in Sheffield’s Digital Campus, which offers 80,000 sq ft of Grade A office space. In addition, Channel 4 has been offered a development site in the centre of the city, next to the train station and in the heart of Sheffield’s digital eco-system and cultural quarter.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “Establishing a new world-leading centre for digital technology in Sheffield, with its proud reputation for innovation and forward-thinking, would be an excellent complement to a move by Channel 4.
“We have seen in Media City in Manchester just how beneficial having educational and business links close to a media organisation can be, allowing them to build up natural and productive relationships.
“Channel 4, with its reputation for innovative and cutting edge broadcasting, is perfect for our city. The potential site is within a stone’s throw of Park Hill, the location for many films and a cultural icon in its own right.
“Sheffield is the home to Doc/Fest, one of the largest global documentary film festivals. And the city’s enviable transport links and talent have already brought Boeing and McLaren Automotive here in recent months. Throw in the city’s two Universities with their journalism and media courses and you have a compelling case for Sheffield to be a new home for the broadcaster.”
Professor Christina Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at Sheffield Hallam University, added: “As a University, we fully support Sheffield’s bid to provide a new home for Channel 4. If successful the presence of Channel 4 in Sheffield would provide a massive boost to the city’s flourishing creative digital and communication sectors and build upon its huge potential.
“Having a world class organisation like Channel 4 on our doorstep would open up exciting opportunities for our students and staff. The bid shows the depths of partnerships that the City and its universities are able to galvanise to support strategically important initiatives like this.”
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said “Sheffield is a unique and creative place which often does something interesting and out of the ordinary, much like Channel 4 does. We have a fantastic creative industry in this city and this is a huge opportunity to expand upon this.”
Andy Barratt, from digital agency Joi Polloi, added: “Sheffield has quietly developed into a buoyant, vibrant and energetic city in which to live and work. Whilst we may be modest by nature we are also fearless risk takers, natural innovators, creative to the core and lead the way in diversity. I believe there is no better place economically, geographically or culturally than Sheffield for Channel 4 to call home."
If you would like to learn more about relocation opportunities in Sheffield please contact Invest Sheffield.