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S4C Authority agree to bid to move Channel Headquarters to Carmarthen

14/03/2014

Plans to relocate S4C’s headquarters have taken a big step forward after the Channel’s Authority accepted a bid to attract it to Carmarthen.

During a meeting at the channel’s current headquarters in Cardiff, the members of the S4C Authority decided to press ahead with the bid which is being led by University of Wales Trinity Saint David after considering applications from two areas. Caernarfon was the other area that had reached the final shortlist, and the possibility of keeping the headquarters in Cardiff was also considered.

As a result of the decision, channel staff will continue to work on the plans which would mean that S4C would have offices at the following locations:

• Headquarters in Carmarthen

• Continue with a presence in Cardiff

• Continue with an office in Caernarfon of at least its current size

The decision follows a feasibility study which had been carried out into the possibility of moving the channel’s HQ out of Cardiff. The intention is to spread the economic, cultural and linguistic benefits of S4C’s existence as a national channel. The S4C Authority had stated that any plan to move would have to be beneficial to services and be deliverable without additional cost to the channel over a period.

Announcing the decision, the Chair of the S4C Authority, Huw Jones emphasised that he is very hopeful that the exciting and ambitious plans can be realised. But he added that several contractual and financial steps will need to be taken in order for the plans to go ahead.

If the plans are realised, they will mean:

• A brand new headquarters on the outskirts of Carmarthen.

• Around 50 posts to be moved there.

• A target to be operational on the new site in 2018.

Following the Authority’s decision, Chair Huw Jones said:

“The members of the S4C Authority have had an opportunity to hear, read and scrutinise the wonderful plans that have been presented to us by two groups with very strong visions. We’re very grateful to both of them.

“We agree that it is feasible and practical to move S4C’s Headquarters to Carmarthen, and in line with our conditions, the plans which have been presented to us are cost-neutral over a period. We’re confident that these plans would be beneficial to the service we offer, and offer economic and linguistic benefits to Carmarthen. S4C will now work with our partners in the area to try to turn our intention and ambition to reality.

“Despite the importance of our decision, we’re still at an early stage in the life of this project as we now face contractual and financial challenges. But I very much hope that we will be able to bring to fruition the exciting and ambitious plans which have been ratified by the Authority, and that this progressive vision becomes a geographic framework for S4C over the next 30 years.”

S4C’s Chief Executive, Ian Jones said:

“This decision is a major step forward for our plans to boost the economy and Welsh language in another part of Wales.

“I would like to warmly congratulate all partners involved in the Carmarthen bid, and naturally we look forward with great anticipation to furthering our work with them to realise the plans they have presented.

“Now much more work is needed to turn these plans into reality. In doing so, we will further concrete S4C’s place as Wales’ national broadcaster and we will also create tangible economic, cultural and linguistic benefits in Carmarthen. The clear condition from the start was that this needed to be deliverable in a cost-neutral way which safeguards our content budget for the future.

“I would also like to congratulate all partners in the bid from Caernarfon. Despite not getting chosen in the end, their vision is particularly exciting for the people of the north west. Even without S4C’s headquarters, we hope that their great work can spark development there which will bring substantial benefits for the area.”

In making their decision about S4C’s Headquarters, the Authority also ratified the principle of co-locating some of the channel’s work with the BBC in Cardiff, conditional on coming to an agreement following ongoing discussions.

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