Ipswich bids to be new hub for making Channel Four television programmes

Students from the University of Suffolk are backing the bid for Channel Four's Creative Hub. Picture

Students from the University of Suffolk are backing the bid for Channel Four's Creative Hub. Picture: NICOLE DRURY/IBC - Credit: Archant

Ipswich has today formally submitted a bid to be the home of one of Channel Four’s “creative hubs” developing programmes for the national broadcaster.

New offices are being developed in Ipswich like the former maltings in Princes Street. Architect's C

New offices are being developed in Ipswich like the former maltings in Princes Street. Architect's CGI: IBC - Credit: Archant

The bid has been put together by creative companies along with public sector organisations. It has been co-ordinated by Ipswich Borough Council, which is formally submitting the bid to C4 chiefs in London.

The TV giant is relocating staff to three new centres and the Ipswich bid stresses the impact that a move to Suffolk would have.

More than 20 places are likely to bid – including near-neighbours Norwich – but Terry Hunt, Chair of Ipswich Vision, said one of the key strengths the town had is the number of hi-tech and creative companies already established here.

Another is the impact any relocation would have on Ipswich and surrounding area: “If C4 moves to one of the bigger centres it would create a ripple; here it would create an explosion,” he said.

Robert Pacitti outside the Think Tank. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Robert Pacitti outside the Think Tank. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Adam Collier, of Beauty and the Bear film production company, stressed: “Ipswich is a new playground of opportunity that is already on its way to becoming a new creative hub outside the saturated markets of the big cities.

“Working together with other professionals – along with a newly formed film office, and independent organisations such as Film Suffolk – we now have access to a unique pool of film making talent living in Suffolk.”

Most Read

More than 50 companies and organisations, along with Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, are supporting the Ipswich bid centred on its diversity, creative and emerging talent.

The importance of University of Suffolk, Innovation Martlesham and Bentwaters Studios along with value for money and available office space plus a wide choice of housing are also vital elements of the bid.

Mr Hunt added: “Ipswich boasts the fifth fastest growing economy in the UK. It is also in the top 10 cities and towns when it comes to opportunities for start-up companies.

“A third of a million people live within 15 miles of the town centre and we enjoy thriving commercial and educational sectors, cultural festivals, theatres, museums and excellent sports facilities.

“The area is home to BT’s Global Research and Development HQ, and Innovation Martlesham – a cluster of more than 100 high tech SMEs, and Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre at the University of Suffolk.”

The bid also includes the quality of life to be found in Suffolk – the parks in Ipswich, the unspoilt countryside and Suffolk coast along with the huge variety of cultural events, including Latitude, the Aldeburgh Festival and Ipswich’s own summer events programme.

The bid contains a foreword from the Mayor of Ipswich, Sarah Barber, which reads: “Coming here would make a major difference – for my town and for my community. Ipswich is one of the fastest growing places in the UK. All bidders will talk up the strength of their support, how wonderful they are, how they can offer this and that and everything in between.

“But I don’t think this is about corporate goals and business models – this is about a gritty and great town that is both steeped in history but is new and ambitious.”

Robert Pacitti, the man behind SPILL Festival, said: “We are known for big skies. Skies that have captivated artists for centuries. A landscape that affords space to think, to grow, to breathe.

“No wonder the cultural industries are thriving in and around Ipswich. Resilient and sustainable. Cultivating new ideas, rich in content, unexpected in form. Impacting locally, nationally and internationally. We are looking to the future and see C4 as part of that future.”

Richard Johns, of Corona Pictures, was also enthusiastic: “Ipswich has been a very well-kept secret.

“What I love about Ipswich is its surprising mixes: deep history and a wide range of contemporary global culture; a great diversity of ethnicities, faiths and languages reflecting its heritage as a port town and safe haven for immigrants going back centuries; and increasingly its functions as a regional centre.”

Remi Morrison, of Red Cactus Media, added: “Young people in this region need to believe the creative industries is for them and I think Channel 4 being here would cement that belief.”

The process Channel 4 started highlighted 20 potential locations, including Ipswich. They will look at all the submissions and make their choice later this year.