22.11.2017 Salford’s MediaCityUK gets £1bn expansion

22.11.2017 Salford’s MediaCityUK gets £1bn expansion

In 2016 Salford City Council approved the £1bn plan to double the size of MediaCityUK. MediaCityUK, the home to BBC in the north of England, will significantly expand over the next 10 years, especially due to the fact that TV production companies are increasingly priced out of London.

MediaCityUK has significantly developed, since more than 1,000 BBC staff were relocated to Manchester 5 years ago. About 250 businesses employing 7,000 people currently operate at the site. Thus, with MediaCityUK already being a home to BBC, ITV,The Lowry, dock10 studios and the University of Salford, with dozens of apartments, hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars, the first phase of the development already marked a rapid change in attitude towards the north of England as a media hotspot. Sue Woodward, former managing director of ITV Granada, said that ‘Manchester has become the go-to production destination in the UK due to investment in facilities and the deeply rooted talent pool and it is now the biggest tech and creative centre outside the capital. On all counts it is a more cost-effective choice’. According to an independent report from Amion Consulting Ltd, production and average full-time staff costs in Greater Manchester are more than 50% lower than in London, so is the cost of living, including transport. Manchester is a home to over 600 film and TV companies and most of the dramas filmed outside of London are now filmed here. The report claims that over 60,000 people now work in the creative and digital industries in Greater Manchester and the number is expected to grow 27% by 2034.

Phase one of the expansion, worth £650m, is now complete and the plans for phase two of project include more TV studios and production space as well as offices, shops, a hotel, 1,400 new homes. Hundreds more jobs are set to be created at Salford Quays. MediaCityUK will be expanded by 2.3m sq ft across nine plots, each designed by a different architect.

Salford Mayor Paul Dennett said that this phase of Salford development would focus on creating welcoming neighbourhoods where people can live and work, socialise and enjoy events. University of Salford, Salford City College and the UTC are based all in MediaCityUK, training young people, who will later work and live in the new buildings, for the media and creative industries. Therefore, as MediaCityUK managing director Stephen Wild claimed, phase two will provide a unique opportunity for a new generation of people, complementing an already thriving and vibrant destination.