Hastings launches bid for Channel 4 'creative hub'

Channel 4 building in Horseferry Road, London (Credit: Tom Morris/Wikimedia Commons)
Channel 4 building in Horseferry Road, London (Credit: Tom Morris/Wikimedia Commons)

Hastings has launched a bid to become one of Channel 4’s new ‘creative hubs’, as the company moves ahead with plans to spread out from London.

In March this year the broadcaster revealed plans to open three new offices outside of London – including a new national headquarters – putting out a call for bids.

This week details were revealed of a pitch put forward by Hastings Borough Council – in partnership with Sussex Coast College, Locate East Sussex and East Sussex County Council among others – in an effort to lure Channel 4 to a new seaside home.

In a business plan, seen by this newspaper, the bidders highlight some of Hastings’ greatest features, including its diverse pool of creative skills and a ‘talent pipeline’ from Sussex Coast College and the University of Sussex.

The bid also argues that the town offers access to ‘the real UK’ by giving a voice to working-class communities and would bring TV to the home of John Logie Baird.

Council leader Peter Chowney said: “C4 establishing a cultural hub here would provide an incredible boost to the local community, creating opportunities and making a real difference to the town.

“We have a great track record for welcoming new business, and we would relish the chance to show what we can do for C4.”

The bid has attracted a great deal of support from around the town and surrounding area, including from many of the town’s established creative groups.

Other supporters include Hastings MP Amber Rudd, Bexhill’s De Le Warr Pavillion and East Sussex County Council.

AFTA winner and Hastings resident, director David Caffrey (Peaky Blinders, Line of Duty) is also championing the proposal. He said: “I love the lifestyle here in Hastings. A Channel 4 Hub would help immensely with the local economy and development of film projects in the south and so happy to support the proposal that I hope will bring television to the town I’m proud to call home."

Support also comes from the South East LEP, with vice-chair Graham Peters speaking out in favour of the scheme. Mr Peters said: “I can’t think of a better place than Hastings for C4 to have a creative hub. It has great artistic depth in a county with remarkable cultural roots.

"It has an extraordinary quality of environment with great architecture and housing, bounded on one side by the glittering sea and on the other by rolling Sussex countryside making a stimulating place to live, work and create.”

Hastings is likely to face stiff competition in the bidding process, not least from coastal neighbour Brighton which has also revealed details of its bid this week.