COVENTRY has missed out on becoming the location for a new national headquarters for Channel 4 – but Birmingham is still in the running.
Coventry did not make the latest shortlist following the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) formal bid in May to bring the broadcaster to the region.
The bid highlighted Birmingham and Coventry’s many strengths as the location, under the slogan ‘Get Closer’.
Coventry, like Birmingham, had been earmarked as a suitable location by the WMCA due to its connectedness, its diversity, its culture and the exciting events coming to the city.
But of the two West Midlands cities, only Birmingham made the latest shortlist after an announcement on Monday (July 23).
Coventry City Council leader George Duggins previously said a bespoke building could be offered at a Coventry location, with planned business park Friargate, next to the train station, being the obvious site.
Responding to the news he said: “We are naturally disappointed at today’s announcement.
“What does not change is that our city offers excellent transport links, a young, diverse population and a reputation for design and innovation which makes us an attractive option for potential investors along with our central location that means we are within two hours of 40 million people.
“Although we believed Coventry was the perfect choice, if it wasn’t to be us, the next best result is for Channel 4 to select a location in the vicinity.
“Therefore, it is good to see Birmingham is still in the running to host Channel 4 and we wish them well in their endeavours.
“But the future for Coventry is very bright and we continue to look forward to our Year of Wellbeing in 2019, our European City of Sport status next year and of course being UK City of Culture in 2021 as well as being named home of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.”
Channel 4 is seeking to establish three new creative hubs outside London, as part of its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy.
The largest of these hubs will become the national headquarters, consisting of offices, a new studio, a base for daily programmes and a new digital production unit.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “Delighted Birmingham has been shortlisted with Leeds and Manchester to be the new HQ for Channel 4.
“Disappointed Coventry has not been selected.
“Now the region must get behind Birmingham and help us bring this home.”
Leader of the Coventry Conservatives, councillor Gary Ridley, said: This is very disappointing news. As a city there’s still a lot to be positive about and we need to dust ourselves down and move forward.
“I’m afraid Channel 4 have shown a lack of vision by not moving to Coventry – being based in the City of Culture would have been an amazing way to reinvigorate the Channel 4 brand.”
Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham said: “Great to hear that Birmingham is still in the running to host Channel 4’s new national HQ.
“I fully support investment across the West Midlands and know that Channel 4 would benefit immensely from our counties’ thriving media industry.”