Birmingham in final three for Channel 4 relocation

Channel 4's London headquarters
Channel 4's London headquarters

Birmingham has made it into the final three as Channel 4 decides where to put its new national headquarters, but there was disappointment for two other cities in the region.

The broadcaster is moving around 300 jobs out of London to a main hub and two smaller creative hubs as part of its Nations and Regions strategy, although its London HQ will remain its dominant site.

It has now revealed it will decide between Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Leeds for the main hub while Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow are also in contention for a creative hub.

The decision means Coventry, which was pushed as an option within the initial West Midlands bid, and Stoke-on-Trent, which was bidding for a creative hub, will miss out.

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As a region, we encouraged and supported a bid by both Birmingham and Coventry, so it is disappointing that the latter has not made the shortlist. Everyone in Coventry should be proud of the confidence and energy of their efforts.

“Now, it is important the whole region gets behind the Birmingham bid. If we are successful in attracting the HQ, the benefits will be felt across the West Midlands.”

Channel 4 has said the national headquarters will be placed somewhere with a working population of more than 200,000 people, have a high level of physical and digital connectivity, and a travel time to London that is below three hours.

It has also highlighted five key considerations – demography and diversity, availability of talent, local connectivity, travel links to London and its creative hubs, and the suitability of available office space – that the successful bidder will perform strongly on.

Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s chief commercial officer, said: “We have again had to take some very difficult decisions on which cities to take forward to the next stage, but we believe the six cities we have selected are best able to deliver against our vision and requirements for the new National HQ and Creative Hubs.”

The West Midlands bid, led by West Midlands Combined Authority, highlighted the region’s strengths under the strapline of ‘Get Closer’.

Street added: “The West Midlands is the natural choice for Channel 4. Our unrivalled connectivity, the diverse and young nature of our population and the strength of our creative and digital economy mean we have a really compelling case.

“Now we up our game and find another gear as we continue discussions with the broadcaster ahead of the final decision.”