Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent 'ideal home' for Channel 4 relocation

Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth Image copyright PA/BBC
Image caption MPs Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth said Stoke-on-Trent has a "bright future"

Stoke-on-Trent would be the "ideal home" for Channel 4's headquarters if it moves out of London, according to two of the city's MPs.

Ruth Smeeth and Gareth Snell have written a letter to the culture secretary to formally ask for Stoke-on-Trent to be considered.

It says the city has a "bright future" with "talented people and a thirst to prove itself".

The proposals to move Channel 4 out of London were announced in March.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley - MP for the neighbouring Staffordshire Moorlands - wants to move some or all of Channel 4's 800 staff out of London.

Stoke-on-Trent faces competition from Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, Bristol and Brighton, who have all expressed interest in housing the new headquarters for the broadcaster.

In the letter, Ms Smeeth and Mr Snell said if Channel 4 came to Stoke-on-Trent, it would be "game-changing" as the city continues its "renaissance as a city on the up".

Having also submitted a bid to become the UK's City of Culture in 2021, the process has allowed them to consider "all it can offer", the MPs said.

They added that as Stoke-on-Trent was already home to international brands such as Bet365, Emma Bridgewater and Steelite, "our city is ready to provide Channel 4 with the home for the future."

The letter also cited the city's "excellent transport links" to other major cities.

Image caption Channel 4 would be "game-changing" for Stoke-on-Trent, the MPs say

Analysis by James Bovill, Political Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke & Sunday Politics Midlands

There are plenty of bigger cities competing to become Channel 4's new home, but the fact that Stoke-on-Trent's Labour MPs have even thrown their city in to the mix shows its newfound confidence.

Stoke-on-Trent is in with a real chance of being named UK City of Culture 2021, spent last year as European City of Sport and many feel there's a buzz about the place not seen since its ceramics heyday.

But there's still a long way to go.

Stoke-on-Trent is a long way from submitting a formal bid, unlike West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street who did so three months ago and has already identified four potential locations for a new headquarters.

With a decision on a possible move expected by the end of the year, Stoke-on-Trent may not win this particular race. But it's a boon to even be in the running.

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