Already the onscreen home to Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, Chester is now officially in the running to become home to the national headquarters of the broadcaster.
Council officials say a ‘compelling bid’ has been made for Chester and North Wales to welcome the broadcaster which is seeking a new base.
Channel 4 is moving 300 of its 800 staff from London to three new bases at different locations around the UK as part of its ‘4 All The UK’ plan.
Chester and Wrexham have united to encourage Channel 4 to set up its new headquarters in the unique cross-border patch.
The bid, by two diverse landscapes, is built on the close working relationship between Cheshire West and Chester Council and Wrexham County Borough Council as well as MPs, businesses and the wider community on both sides of the border.
They argue that the unique benefits to Channel 4 adopting this cross border proposal include:
- Cultures and lifestyles of every kind in our area represent the diversity of modern Britain.
- The bid delivers a message of unity and delivers on the promise of the move being ‘4 all of the UK’
- A choice of distinctive, digitally-enabled high quality office spaces which can be tailored to meet exacting needs.
- An area voted one of the best places to live in the UK with high living standards, great schools and a host of attractions.
- A strategic location at the heart of the UK with a vibrant economy which scores highly for health, wellbeing and happiness.
- Home to some of the biggest programmes in the Channel 4 portfolio.
Chester MP Chris Matheson said: “I have already written to Channel 4 bosses inviting them to consider Chester and our bid is immeasurably strengthened by joining forces with North Wales.”
He added: “Our area will be easy to sell to Channel 4 staff, with our great schools, our central location and transport links, and for being recognised as one of the best places to live in the UK.
“Combine that with our dynamic and growing creative and cultural sector and our already strong links with Channel 4’s output and we believe we have a very powerful offer for Channel 4 and its employees.”
Cllr Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, said: “This is a tale of two nations – and two neighbouring councils – coming together to offer one of the UK’s most innovative companies a unique opportunity.
“Wrexham has a deep pool of talent across its college, university and creative sectors, and is a really exciting place for creative people and businesses at the moment.
“And by teaming up with our neighbours Chester, we can put a unique and much more powerful proposition to Channel 4 – giving us more opportunity to be successful, and achieving an outcome that both Wrexham and Chester can gain from.”
Cllr Samantha Dixon, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for both Wrexham and Chester.
“We believe we have so much to offer Channel 4, which would benefit from being based in one of the finest regions of the country.”
She continued: “Chester is closely linked with Channel 4. The city is home to the Bafta-nominated programme The Secret Life of The Zoo and is the on-screen home to Hollyoaks.”
Samantha added: “There is a wealth of creative talent for the broadcaster’s Programme Commissioning Editors to draw from in Chester and North Wales.
“The attractiveness of living in our region and the robust local infrastructure with links to the transport network will attract the best talent to working at Channel 4.”
Wrexham MP Ian Lucas commented: “We have an opportunity to bring Channel 4 to our unique, cross-border community in Chester and North Wales.
“The bid is from two, diverse nations and is built on the close working relationship developed in recent years by councils, business and the wider community on both sides of the border.
“We have a flourishing, creative sector with artists concentrated around Chester, Wrexham and Bangor and we want Channel 4 to break the mould, as it has done before, by moving to a dynamic, forward looking region.”
The broadcaster will set up three bases around the UK – one being its HQ and two further creative hubs.
It has vowed to spend some 50% of its content funds in the regions. It estimates that 3,000 production jobs will be supplemented by the new business.