TV bid has given life to ‘new creative network’

It’s a ‘long-shot’ but the bid Hastings has put forward is a ‘convincing’ one.

That’s the view of Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney as the town attempts to get itself on the shortlist to become a potential home to a regional studio for national broadcaster Channel 4.

Channel 4 is planning to move its headquarters out of London and as part of the process it is also planning to set up two satellite regional studios and has asked for bids for locations for both the headquarters and the satellites. Channel 4 is putting a heavy emphasis on the fact that it wants its new bases to be in areas where their presence will help regenerate the economy and also be somewhere where they will be able to find the right premises and workforce.

Hastings has put in a bid for one of the satellite hubs and has even recruited the suport of BAFTA award winning TV director and Hastings resident David Caffrey to back the bid.

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Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney and David Caffrey with the ‘Bringing Television Home’ bid document and the BAFTA award recently won by Peaky Blinders which David directed.

Mr Chowney says: “It’s a long shot – there are many other towns and cities bidding for this too. But the bid that’s been put together does look convincing.

“The bid is led by Hastings Borough Council, with Locate East Sussex, University of Sussex, University of Brighton, Sussex Coast College, Team East Sussex, East Sussex County Council, and Rother District Council as partners. The bid is called ‘Bringing Television Home’ an allusion to John Logie Baird’s first TV broadcast experiments in Hastings.

“It stresses the cultural and creative economy in Hastings and how that’s already regenerating the economy, as well as all the quirky, independent, and eccentric aspects of the town. But it also makes the point that there are premises already here that they could move in to, in the university buildings that will be vacated by Brighton University when their campus here closes next year – premises with almost new, state-of-the-art TV studio and recording facilities.

“One of the wonderful things about the bid process has been how so many people working in the creative and media sectors locally have come forward to help with the bid, to be included in the process and provide quotes for the document. That in itself was worthwhile, bringing together people working in the creative and media sectors we’d previously known little about.”

Hastings will know whether it has made it through to the next round later this month. If it does, Channel 4 will pay the town a visit, and the final decision on where has been chosen will be announced later in the summer.

“Whatever happens, it’s generated a lot of local enthusiasm, and spawned a new creative network that could be useful in the future,” says Mr Chowney.

Hear what David Caffrey had to say when he spoke to Hastings In Focus…

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