BBC move to Manchester is edging closer

The BBC’s plans to move departments and channels to a new centre in
Manchester are closer to fruition after the board of governors approved
the findings of a feasibility study on the move in a meeting last week.

The
proposed move, which is planned for 2010 and is part of the BBC’s wider
Out of London strategy, involves BBC Sport; BBC Radio Five Live and
Five Live Sports Extra; BBC New Media, Research and Development; the
CBBC department – including the CBBC and CBeebies channels; and
Children’s Learning.

The governors endorsed the findings of the
feasibility study carried out by the corporation’s project team, which
included ways of developing a new vision for the BBC in Manchester. The
governors’ preferred option is to create a Media Zone for the BBC,
independent producers, facilities suppliers and, potentially, other
broadcasters – while retaining the option of creating a new
‘stand-alone’ BBC operation.

They noted that potential cost
savings were possible through partnerships and new ways of working,
including radical approaches to accommodation, technology and
facilities.

Four sites – two in Manchester and two in Salford –
have been shortlisted as a result of the feasibility study. The current
BBC building in Oxford Road is not one of these.

The governors
have authorised the project team to begin negotiations with potential
partners in order to identify a site offering the best possible value.

The
governors will consider management’s recommendations by spring 2006,
and a final decision is subject to a satisfactory licence-fee
settlement.

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