THE WEST Midlands has submitted a case to woo Channel 4 from London – potentially for its relocation to Coventry.
The West Midlands Combined Authority has lodged its case for our region to become the new home for the TV station.
The struggling Friargate business park development near Coventry station is to be one of four possible relocation sites.
The others are believed to be in Solihull (near the planned new HS2 interchange station near the NEC), Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
The WMCA believes it could add £5 billion to the West Midlands economy.
Its submission is part of the government’s consultation on Channel 4, called ‘Increasing the Regional Impact of Channel 4 Corporation’.
The consultation seeks views on whether any relocation of Channel 4 could contribute to economic growth and the creative industries in the regions, and better serve audiences outside the capital.
Coventry City Council cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, councillor Jim O’Boyle, said: “We put this bid in because we believe Coventry and in particular a new building at Friargate will be the ideal location.
“It’s closer to London than the other three proposed sites, and Friargate would be available quickly. We have everything ready to go.”
Coventry City Council leader and WMCA member George Duggins said: “The West Midlands is well-equipped is to support the relocation of Channel 4.
“The region is the UK’s second most ethnically diverse region after London, and home to one of the youngest urban populations in Europe.
“The vibrancy, innovation and creativity of this population underpins the region’s burgeoning digital and creative sector, and will allow Channel 4 to engage with its target audience more closely, whilst creating opportunities for the country’s next generation of aspiring talent.”
Jonathan Browning, chairman of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are pleased to be working with our partners to be put forward a highly credible case for Channel 4 relocating to our region. Coventry and Warwickshire, and the wider West Midlands, is one of the most vibrant, innovative and creative regions in the UK and we believe Channel 4 would thrive in our area.
“Our region has an extremely strong track record of attracting major businesses and organisations to relocate here and grow, and we hope the Government strongly considers our case for being the best location for Channel 4’s future.”
The WMCA adds it would offer ‘wide-ranging support to Channel 4 should the broadcaster move to the region – including a package of business support for local firms, to maximise the opportunities offered by the local creative and digital sectors in working with the broadcaster.’
It says the West Midlands is the largest digital sector outside of London, employing around 25,000 people.