Our city has always had a reputation as a vibrant, creative, beautiful and welcoming place – well before it even became a city.
With so many businesses and residents working within the creative industries, and our local educational institutions also supporting the development of such careers, it is really important we continue building our reputation as a creative and disruptive place. By disruptive I don’t mean a city of division and riots, but that our talent as a place is for innovations that challenge the norms and lead to way.
When Channel 4 earlier in the year announced its plans to move away from being a London-centred channel, including relocating its base to the regions, obviously as a city we were aware of this. When they subsequently announced that they were also planning a few creative hubs outside London, then the city’s ears really pricked up. Our bid team were able to assemble a range of talents from across the council, educational and creative sectors to put together a strong bid, but we were always facing one single and rather obvious fact that, no matter how creative the collective minds were, could not be ignored.
To some this may come as a shock, so please be prepared – Brighton and Hove is actually quite close to London…
Now this may not seem that radical a challenge but, short of towing the city around the coast up to the North Sea, and sneaking a mooring somewhere around Scarborough, it was always going be tough to convince Channel 4 they were meeting their stated aim of spreading into the regions by moving to a city where tens of thousands of residents commute to London daily.
We can be very proud of the feedback we received from the bid and from Channel 4’s visit to the city. Clearly the scope of our city’s offer was recognised as being of high quality, but even Channel 4 noticed that we were still that little bit too close to the capital, and that kept us off of the final shortlist.
Regardless of this set back, our reputation for challenging accepted norms and valuing highly creative mindsets lives on. I’m proud of our unsuccessful bid, of our city and of our special place on the south coast – close to London!
Cllr Daniel Yates is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.