'Shelter' by Stephanie Imbeau, Channel 4 HQ, Horseferry Road
Image Source: Loz Pycock
Richard Bell

Channel 4 Leeds HQ: Business leaders react to ‘real win’ for Yorkshire

Leeds has beaten stiff competition from Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities to become the new home of Channel 4’s national headquarters.

The decision, announced on Wednesday (October 31), will see the broadcaster move around 200 of its 800 employees to the city as it ramps up spending on programmes outside London by £250m during the next five years.

Here, we’ve gathered the views of businesses to see what they think of Channel 4’s plan – and what it means for the city’s booming creative economy.

A real win for the whole of Yorkshire

Johnny Caddick, director of Wetherby-based building firm Caddick Group, believes the decision is demonstrative of the city’s “immense pulling power” and hailed it as “a real win” for the whole of Yorkshire.

Mr Caddick said: “As we have seen in countless cities across the globe, the artistic and creative industries are a major driver for growth, and we look forward to welcoming Channel 4 as they make their new home here.”

Matthew Howarth, partner and Leeds office head at national law firm Shoosmiths, called the decision a “brilliant vote of confidence in Leeds”, adding: “[It’s] a fantastic endorsement of the talent pool and connectivity the city offers.

“TV production has a proud history here over many years – from Countdown to Emmerdale – but this news represents a coming of age for our creative industries sector.”

Another chapter in Leeds’ rich creative history

Keith Hardman, head of the Leeds office of real estate services business Cushman & Wakefield, called the win “excellent news for the city”.

Channel 4’s decision, he said, “is a tremendous boost to Leeds economy, [bringing] further diversity and additional resilience to the changes and challenges that lie ahead.”

Mr Hardman continued: “This is another chapter in Leeds’ rich creative history; the first moving image was shot on Leeds Bridge in 1888 by Louis le Prince and, this year, the city celebrates 50 years of television production with the anniversary of both ITV Yorkshire and BBC Look North.”

His colleague, Cushman & Wakefield partner Adam Cockroft, said: “The creation of new jobs, in an effective nearshoring move, will add to the dynamism and economy of the Leeds City Region.”

Bill Jones, deputy CEO of Leeds City College, told Bdaily by email that Channel 4 relocating to Leeds “will be transformative for the cultural and creative scene in the city”.

He said: “[It will] broaden the skills agenda, bringing job opportunities and resulting wider economic and cultural prosperity.

“We have taken a great interest in and supported the bidding process and know the importance that this decision will have for young people from the city and wider region.”

The knock on effect of such a significant relocation will be well received

Paul Fairhurst, director in the Leeds-based office agency team at estate and letting agency Savills, said the news represents “a significant win for Leeds”.

Mr Fairhurst added: “[It] is not only an endorsement of the quality of the city’s offering, but also the collaborative approach from city leaders. The knock on effect of such a significant relocation will be well received by an already buoyant office market.”

Craig Burrow, director of Leeds for office space provider Bruntwood, said: “At Bruntwood, we care passionately about Leeds and believe this great city has all the attributes to grasp this wonderful opportunity.

“Yorkshire itself is a world-class leader in culture and Leeds is a dynamic and vibrant city at its heart. The city of Leeds is currently undergoing a bold cultural revival and is at the forefront of the digital technology revolution, so news that Channel 4’s HQ is coming here will help to boost the success, talent and reputation of the city and the region.”

What did you think of Channel 4’s decision? Is Leeds the best city for the HQ – or would it be better served in Manchester or Birmingham? Let us know in the comments.

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