Why Channel 4 chose Leeds over Sheffield for its new National HQ 

Channel 4 announced yesterday that it had chosen Leeds for its new national headquarters. 

Leeds fended off competition from Greater Manchester and Birmingham to host the new base, while Cardiff was also in contention to host a creative hub.

A general view of Channel 4's current headquarters on Horseferry Road

A general view of Channel 4's current headquarters on Horseferry Road

More than 30 cities across the UK submitted bids for the NQ after the broadcaster announced plans to move away from London. 

However, in May it was announced that Sheffield had missed out on a shortlist of potential locations with Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and the West Midlands all preferred. 

Why Channel 4 chose Leeds

Channel 4 released a lengthy statement yesterday detailing why they saw Leeds as the best option for their new HQ. 

The company said that Leeds was best able to deliver against Channel 4’s vision and objectives for a new National HQ.

This included:

-  Putting forward a comprehensive, compelling and ambitious strategy to partner with Channel 4 and the wider sector

-  Ability to support growth in the production and creative industries

- Promising to nurture new talent from diverse backgrounds – in the region and across the UK. 

-  Allow Channel 4 to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector across the North of England

-  Unlock the potential for growth in the underserved East and North-East of England

- Well positioned to be a base for collaboration with producers and creative talent across other cities including Bradford, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

- Already home to a thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool to support Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit

- Demonstrated a passionate commitment to work with Channel 4 to bring diverse new talent into the industry

What Channel 4 said

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: "We undertook a rigorous process over the last seven months and the high calibre of all the pitches meant those were incredibly difficult decisions to make.

"However, I know that Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow will best deliver our objectives to grow the production sector across the UK, build the pipeline of creative talent outside London and support our increased investment in programming produced across the nations and regions.

"Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.

"Locating our national HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the North of England - and also has the potential to unlock growth in the North East and East of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.”

What Sheffield City Council said

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We produced a brilliant bid for Channel 4 and we know that it has given the city a big boost to be considered as a new home for the broadcaster.

“We are absolutely determined that this is just the start in fulfilling our ambitions to build a world-leading digital and creative industry.

“We have so many pieces already in place from grass roots film-makers and digital journalists to established operators with a global reach like Warp Films.

“We have two award-winning universities turning out the film-makers and journalists of the future as well as the UTC and Sheffield College who played such an important part in our bid.” 

Why is Channel 4 moving?

The move will be part of the biggest change to the structure of the channel in its 35-year history, even though it will keep its base on Horseferry Road in London.

Channel 4 announced its intention to move staff out of London to three new bases in the nations and regions after the Government said the broadcaster will remain publicly owned, but faced being relocated.

Some 300 Channel 4 jobs, including key creative decision-makers with significant spending power, will be based in the hubs outside of the capital.

It has also been decided that a major new Channel 4 News hub will be established in Leeds as the new building will include a studio with the capability to regularly co-anchor the programme.

Bristol and Glasgow will host new creative hubs.