Supplementary memorandum by Central Salford
Urban Regeneration Company (URC) and Salford City Council
1.1 Following recent discussions between
the Bishop of Manchester and the Chair of the Central Salford
URC, we decided that it was important to make this short submission
so that the discussion about the BBC's move to Manchester and
the debate over its long-term role and its location and the relationship
to the Charter Renewal process and the associated licence fee
debate, was informed by knowledge of the Salford dimension.
2. THE RELOCATION
2.1 First and foremost it is of paramount
importance that the BBC's relocation to a base in Manchester,
serving the North of England, actually does take place. The debate
about sites is potentially a diversion from this fundamental issue.
2.2 The Leaders of both City Councils have
acknowledged that whichever site in the end is chosen, the key
issue is that the relocation takes place. Whichever site is chosen,
the potentially enormous economic benefit which will flow will
happen. Whichever site is chosen, there is the opportunity for
the relocation to benefit the citizens of the cities of Manchester
and Salford and well beyond. These opportunities must be grasped
decisively and the debate over the precise location must not be
allowed to divert attention from this fundamentally important
2.3 In granting the BBC renewal of its Charter
and in determining the level of the Licence Fee, the Government
should be urged to make the BBC's relocation to Manchester a clear
condition which has to be met in full. This should include the
definition of the minimum range of activities to be relocated,
including all of those already announced ie:
2.4 The potential impact of the BBC's relocation
has already been the subject of an economic appraisal commissioned
by the NW Development Agency and Manchester City Council. That
potential impact applies equally to all the sites shortlisted
and the two recently chosen for the final stage of site selection.
The economic impact is a sub-regional/regional/North of England
issue and the choice of site, when both are located in or very
close to the centre of the conurbation, is unlikely in itself
to make any difference. What could make a significant difference
however is how the site chosen is developed to deliver the maximum
possible impact on the growth of the media industries and across
the wider Creative Industries sectors, across the North of England.
It is in this respect that we believe the site on Salford Quays
offers the BBC and the media industries generally the greatest
potential and the greatest opportunity.
3. THE MEDIA
3.1 The URC and the City Council along with
the landowner and developer, Peel Holdings (the Partnership),
believe that the site of Salford Quays offers a quite unique opportunity
to develop a truly international Media City which can compete
with those already being established across the world. Advice
from MIT indicates that such International Media Cities need to
be developed over time on a significant scale. Sites of 50 to
100 acres and more are seen as the norm. On Salford Quays there
is the opportunity to develop such a complex on such a scale.
The attached summary of the "Seoul Digital Media City"
produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January
2005 illustrates the potential which Salford Quays can offer the
UK (see Appendix A). It is an opportunity which the partnership
in Salford believe can be delivered, building on the enormous
strength of the BBC as the Media City Anchor Tenant. There is
the space on Salford Quays and the potential for expansion to
develop an International complex on a scale which is simply not
possible elsewhere close to the conurbation core. The Select Committee
heard from earlier evidence by Helen France, Sir Howard Bernstein
and John Willis that the components of Media City would embrace:
Office accommodation for the administration
and supporting infrastructure
Shared technical facilities
Developing the role of independent
Business support services including
3.2 This is but the core of what is possible
in Salford Quays. Our partnership is looking to develop a Media
City where the BBC is a vital anchor tenant but is not the only
economic driver. We would expect ITV Granada amongst others to
want to make use of the technical facilities which will be independently
provided via Peel Holdings for production and post production
purposes. We would expect a growing range of independent producers
to utilise what will be leading edge, world class technical facilities.
We envisage other programme makers across the North doing likewise.
We expect to develop a critical mass of production and post production
activity which will sustain the provision of constantly updated
technical facilities making the Salford Quays Media City the most
advanced centre for programme making anywhere in the UK. As part
of this objective, we will so design and develop the Media City
so that it becomes a major visitor destination in its own right.
Centered on an extensive and specifically designed area of world
class public realm, providing the setting for major events and
activities linked to Media and Creative Industry themes, including
in particular Children's TV, Sport, New Media and Learning, Media
City will attract local, regional, national and international
audiences and interest.
3.3 Media City will act as a magnet for
commercial and leisure activity in the rapidly growing multi media,
IT and entertainment industries. On Salford Quays the opportunity
will be created for a wide range of allied activities to cluster
and create the sort of critical mass which will give the location
its strength and its ability not just to sustain the BBC's activities
which are to be re-located, but to grow the Media and Creative
Industries sector very significantly indeed. There is an exciting
opportunity here for Media City to contribute in a very real way
to growth in GVA in the North and to the delivery of the Government's
PSA2 Target. Opportunities on this scale are few and far between,
and this one must be grasped and exploited to the benefit of the
economy and the communities in the North and the UK, as a whole.
The Salford Quays site and the vision and commitment of the partnership
offers that prospect.
3.4 Media City is also about harnessing
the talents of the people of the North (and the UK) in driving
the concept forward. The vital importance of ensuring that people
are skilled to drive forward these knowledge based industries
is a key issue and the partnership is developing proposals to
ensure that real focus and commitment is delivered to that end.
3.5 Equally important is the need to harness
the Research expertise of the Universities of Salford and Manchester
and Institutions across the North to support the development of
the Media and Creative Industry Sectors. The proposed BBC R&D
Institute will be based in Media City and we would expect to see
that concept broadened to underpin the development of the sector
as a whole.
3.6 In various aspects Media City will be
linked closely to the surrounding communities in Salford and the
wider Manchester conurbation. It is seen as an important objective
to ensure that local people benefit from the economic activity
generated to the maximum. Benefits through jobs, through links
to local schools, to community involvement in events and so on.
The potential regeneration benefits which could flow to the wider
city communities are very substantial and this will be a major
objective of the Salford Quays Media City concept.
4.1 The relocation of the BBC will have
a major economic and social impact on the Manchester City region
and the North of England. The site at Salford Quays offers the
opportunity to augment and develop that impact to one of international
status. It is one very good example of the potential for transformational
change, and as such needs to be grasped and developed decisively.
4.2 The Partnership in Salford is entirely
focused on delivering this opportunity and will work with the
BBC and other partners to that end. We believe that alongside
the Lowry Arts Centre, the Imperial Museum North, Manchester United
FC and the adjoining City Centre of Manchester, we can create
the sort of exciting environment which will attract and retain
the talented, innovative and creative people who will drive an
International Media City. We hope the Select Committee will recognise
this potential and support the proposition that the BBC's relocation
should become a condition of Charter Renewal and the Licence Fee
4.3 The submission is made by Central Salford
URC and Salford City Council.