Was Hastings too creative for Channel 4?

Hastings might have been just a bit too creative for Channel 4? That’s what borough council leader Peter Chowney thinks.

Responding to the news that Hastings had failed in its bid to reach the shortlist to become on of the national broadcaster’s new regional creative hubs Mr Chowney said: “The shortlisted locations were all larger cities with populations above 200,000, all very safe and predictable. Hastings, it seems, was just a bit too creative for the grey suits at Channel 4!”

It was announced on Thursday that Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle-Gateshead, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent were the six locations still in the running to become a regional creative base for Channel 4 and all are substantially bigger locations than Hastings.

The bid to attract Channel 4 to set up shop in the ‘home of television’ was launched two weeks ago when award winning TV director and Hastings resident David Caffrey gave his seal of approval to the “Bringing TV Home” bid and spoke exclusively to Hastings In Focus about why he thought Hastings would make an ideal location.

A spokesman at Locate East Sussex said on Friday it had a ‘valiant attempt’ by Hastings to secure one of the new creative hubs.

Philip Johnson from Locate East Sussex said: “It’s disappointing news for everyone who has supported the proposal, but the process has inspired and motivated the entire creative community and lifted everybody who’s played a part in the bid and given them a tantalising glimpse of what could happen. There’s palpable excitement and pride in what Hastings can offer the TV production sector, let alone the wider creative industries.

“The cities that made the shortlist are far bigger than Hastings so we were very much the underdog.

“And we are of course delighted that Brighton is on the shortlist which means that Channel 4 may still come to East Sussex. This would be great news for the entire county, including Hastings, and I have no doubt that the town’s creative community would be seen as a very valuable resource.”

Mr Chowney also believes the process of biding was a worthwhile one, he says: “I’d like to thank all the people working in the creative and media sectors locally who volunteered to help put the bid together and support it. The connections made there will be useful for other initiatives and once again, helped to demonstrate the enthusiasm people in the creative sector have for our town and what we’re achieving. And I got to meet Peaky Blinders director David Caffrey and hold his BAFTA, which made it all worthwhile.”

Channel 4 also has plans to move its HQ out of London and has shortlisted cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds to compete to become the home of the broadcaster’s new national headquarters.

The broadcaster will announce the winners of the competition to become it’s new bases on October 1.

Channel 4 has said the shift of staff and resource out of London is the biggest structural change in its 35-year history.

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