The MPs for Chester and Wrexham have written to Channel 4 urging them to back the region’s cross-border bid to become home to the broadcaster’s new national headquarters.
Channel 4 is searching for a new HQ and two other ‘creative hubs’ outside of London.
Chris Matheson and Ian Lucas have penned a joint letter which underlines exactly why they feel this area should be chosen as the location for the HQ ahead of other UK bidders.
The Chester-North Wales bid, submitted earlier this month, is named ‘Crossing Borders’ and highlights the ‘unique’ cultural life and identity on the England-Wales border. Although in fact the submission letter proposes the ‘new national HQ would be located in Chester’.
In a joint letter sent to Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon, City of Chester MP Mr Matheson and Wrexham MP Mr Lucas write: “This bid is borne of a close working relationship which has developed in recent years between the people, councils, universities and colleges and business across Cheshire and North Wales.
“We are close to, but distinct from, Liverpool and Manchester and benefit from access to the qualities those cities possess whilst offering an identity different from theirs.
“For too long, the assumption has been made that development of the regions means investment in major cities. We believe that the time is right for Channel 4 to surprise once more and, in a digital UK, highlight the benefits of moving to a truly different place.”
The letter goes on to mention the qualities of Chester-set Channel 4 TV shows Hollyoaks and The Secret Life of the Zoo, as well as the hugely successful Storyhouse project in Chester, the FocusWales music festival in Wrexham, and the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
Mr Matheson said: “Channel 4 is well-known for not doing the obvious thing. Our bid is not the obvious thing. Instead our bid is about a northern centre with great transport links and superb schools for Channel 4 staff and their families. It is about a place of ancient heritage and modern cultural experiences. We are a growing and exciting city, which is supported by a wider region of towns that span across a border between two countries.
“This is an epic story and the stuff of great television! I implore Channel 4 to not do the obvious thing and to cross borders with us in Chester and North Wales.”
Channel 4 will retain its London offices in Westminster but is opening three new ‘creative hubs’ in the regions, the largest of which will become a new national HQ. A shortlist of contenders will be announced on Wednesday, May 30, with the winning bid unveiled on Monday, October 1.