Sunny Salford

WILL the BBC’s big move to Salford really happen?
BBC director general Mark Thompson visited the site of the proposed Media City on Friday.
It was a sunny afternoon as we stood on a balcony at The Lowry, where this photo was taken.
“Today, with the sun shining, you can almost see the thing there across the water,” he told an audience of VIPs, business leaders and MPs.

“I think it’s a fantastic project and an important project to do,” added the head of the BBC, who was at pains to stress his personal commitment.
“I want to give you an absolute assurance today that if it is achievable, we will achieve it.”
You can read more about his comments in Saturday’s MEN news story, which is online here.
It’s all still, of course, tied to the government’s licence fee settlement announcement, which looks likely to leave the BBC with less than they say they need for all their future plans.
Many have criticised Mr Thompson for linking the Salford plans to the licence fee deal, even though that was always the case from day one.
His answer? “But nothing’s changed in that. It’s not as if we’ve got cold feet or that we’re less committed to it now than we were three months ago or six months ago.
“The fact is, we’re in a process now of arriving at a settlement on the BBC’s future funding.
“It’s a tantalising moment. We have this fantastic vision, a very strong collective sense that it’s the right thing to do – you should not doubt our commitment to this vision.”
There are also many people who think the BBC move – make or break for the planned new MediaCity:UK – will fall at the final hurdle.
And there may well be more doom and gloom from the pundits when the government finally reveals details of the BBC’s licence fee deal.
Depending on the timing of that Whitehall announcement, the decision on Salford may fall to a BBC Governors’ meeting next month.
In a telling quote, Mr Thompson said: “I believe when they come to this momentous decision, I think they too have been inspired by this vision.”
Compared to other future BBC plans, such as the controversial Local TV proposals, the 2010 Salford move is ready and waiting to roll. You CAN almost see the thing there across the water.
Everyone agrees it’s a good idea – not just for Salford or Greater Manchester, but for the whole of the north of England.
Felicity Goodey, interim chief executive of MediaCity:UK, says it will spark an “explosion of creativity”.
She is “absolutely confident” the big move will happen.
And surely the BBC, and its director general, have come too far down the road north to turn back now?
As he told me on that sunny Friday afternoon: “I think Salford should be a very high priority.”
BBC On Verge Of Historic Leap Into The Future
New Boost For Media City
I’m away for a few days – back later in the week.


1 Comment

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One response to “Sunny Salford

  1. I thought Manchester Evening News readers might be interested to know the actual current status of the MediaCity:UK Development.
    The site now consists of 6 cranes with a 7th on the way (crane base in place). Most of the concrete cores of the new BBC building look to be in place or started, rising to 9-10 stories (maybe more) for the highest cores.
    The land for the taller buildings off to the side of the main BBC building (right from the Lowry Centre side) is still being dug and prepared but more temporary cabins are in place off Broadway (the road that runs through the back of the Quays) presumably to house more MediaCity:UK project staff and a contingent of the BBC (cameramen) looking at the latest articles across the internet.
    The current phase of the build occupies 35-40 acres (next to the City Lofts flats) with other phases planned across the water on the Imperial War Museum side.
    The overall site is something of the order of 200 acres but no visible signs of development has started outside the main phase 1 area currently. No doubt this will depend on discussions with other media companies being persuaded to join the MediaCity:UK estate.
    For a photographic timeline for November / December and beyond (and pictures back to June of this year) do a search on the text in the previous article by Mark A. Whitfield. This link also contains other internet links to interesting threads relating to the build.
    Judging be the pace of the development, there is a big push on to meet the 2010/11 date for the first phase completion.
    Those currently thinking about a career in the media by way of a chosen degree (media studies, photography etc.) might be one of the 15,500 new jobs to be created between now and 2011 in the first phase of this build. Also, the price of properties (and especially flats) in the area will almost certainly rise as a result of the considerable development occuring in this location with new flats being built currently.
    I have worked as an IT Manager in Salford Quays for 12 years and live in North Bolton. When I first came here, the skyline of the Quays area was relatively flat but now houses such buildings as The Designer Outlet (80 outlet stores), The iconic Lowry and Imperial War Museum Buildings and new flat developments which continue to be built in anticipation of the BBC move and general growth in this area.

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