Following the news that Liverpool has been knocked out of the running to become the location for Channel 4’s new headquarters, leaving only Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester remaining as the final three contending cities progressing to the next stage of the negotiations.
Channel 4 are currently looking to move 300 of their 800 strong workforce to a location outside of London, to create a national headquarters and a further two creative hubs elsewhere. Over the summer, Channel 4 will enter into detailed and intense discussions with the three cities and alongside Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow who are competing to become one of the creative hubs.
What sets Leeds apart as a premier business location?
Facing strong contenders in the bid to become Channel 4’s new HQ location, Leeds has still managed to hold it’s own, ticking all of the boxes that the broadcasting company are looking for and then some. With Channel 4 putting in some serious legwork and taking the decision-making process very seriously, it’s absolutely critical for Leeds to showcase everything that it has to offer and ensure that it is able to meet each of the criteria that C4 are seeking.
Accessibility and transport
With a train journey to London taking no more than three hours and easy access to the M62 and M1 corridor, not to mention the impending HS2, which begins construction in 2019, Leeds is one of the best-connected cities in the running. As well as being connected to areas outside of West Yorkshire, Leeds also has a plethora of train and bus services, which allows workers to live in suburbia or even in the countryside, with easy and quick access to the city centre, offering them the best of both worlds.
Culture and diversity
Diversity is deeply ingrained in the DNA of Leeds. The culture is a rich melting pot of ideas, beliefs and communities that work together to build this welcoming and warm city. As home to over 140 ethnic minority groups, speaking over 140 languages one in six people in the area self-identify as being from an ethnic minority background.
Furthermore, the number of under-21-year-olds in the area is currently growing at three times the national average, meaning that more students and talented young professionals are flocking to the area every year.
The Leeds region produces almost 40,000 graduates each year across the nine world-class universities located in the city and surrounding areas. As the largest producer of STEM graduates in the North, Leeds is flush with a pipeline of fresh talent every year with half of the students choosing to stay in the area post-graduation and others choosing to relocate here.
Leeds is also unique in that we see a high number of higher education students from international locations flock to the city. This has resulted in a vast pool of multilingual talent, which has the capability to offer businesses a competitive edge in the industry.
Quality of life
Leeds offers an inarguably high quality of life, from affordability being one of the core attractions with local residential property easier to buy and rent for young people to the possibility of being able to live in areas outside of the city without taking long periods of time to commute.
In 2016, Leeds was recognised as the best city in the UK for the quality of life and people. The social sustainability index, that measured factors that include education, income equality, work-life balance, health and living costs, Leeds came out on top above the likes of London, Manchester and Birmingham. The report entitled, Sustainable Cities, was published in 2016 by infrastructure consultancy, Arcadis.
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