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Colchester challenges Ipswich in bid to become new Channel 4 'creative hub'

PUBLISHED: 11:17 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 15 May 2018

The University of Essex is supporting Colchester's bid to become a new creative hub. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX

The University of Essex is supporting Colchester's bid to become a new creative hub. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX

UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX

Colchester has announced a bold pitch to attract Channel 4 to the town, as the national broadcaster seeks to establish three new "creative hubs" around the country.

The bid draws upon many of Colchester's key assets - including close proximity to picturesque 'Constable country'. Picture: LUCY TAYLORThe bid draws upon many of Colchester's key assets - including close proximity to picturesque 'Constable country'. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The 20-page bid, developed by Colchester Borough Council (CBC) along with business support agency INVEST Essex and the University of Essex, has been formally submitted to Channel 4 chiefs in London.

It sets out eight key reasons why Colchester is a desirable location for a creative hub – including its easy access to London, rich local talent pool, quintessential filming locations, and opportunities for investment.

Also mentioned is the number of start-up companies attracted to the town – making up 44% of local businesses.

Colchester will go up against Ipswich in the running for Channel 4’s investment – as the broadcaster prepares to send staff to three new centres.

Colchester is currently benefiting from a £3bn regeneration project, including investment in the Hythe area. picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColchester is currently benefiting from a £3bn regeneration project, including investment in the Hythe area. picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

CBC’s chief executive, Adam Pritchard, said Colchester had a lot to offer the TV giant: “With access to Ultrafast Gigabit Broadband, a choice of three different spaces to relocate to, access to a strong creative and digital talent pool and network of TV and digital companies in the locality, Colchester’s bid to Channel 4 is really compelling.”

The bid also draws upon Colchester’s current £3bn transformation.

David Rooke, INVEST Essex’s Location Services Director, said: “Colchester has long been a hub for thriving and diverse popular culture with locals of the town including Blur lead singer Damon Albarn, TV host Dermot O’Leary and punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

“Colchester’s facilities for nurturing creative talent such as the SPACE Studios and East 15 acting school, attended by Channel 4’s Inbetweeners actor Blake Harrison, are just another indicator of what the East of England’s most forward-thinking location has to offer the creative scene.”

Lorna Fox-O’Mahoney, deputy vice chancellor designate at the University of Essex, added: “Our Knowledge Gateway science and business park is fast becoming the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector, and we are delighted to back Colchester’s bid to host a Channel 4 creative hub.”

A decision on locations will be made by Channel 4 later this year.

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