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Where Will the Beeb Lay Their Hats?

Published on January 18th 2006.

The Beeb has upped the pace of its already fast approaching move to a new home by announcing that the search for a location is now down to two possible sites.

Oxford Road has been home to the BBC in Manchester for 30 years, but the announcement of a move came in October last year, on the back of the plans to move current London departments of BBC Sport, Children’s BBC, New Media, Five Live and Research and Development, up north.

A new, larger site is going to be needed to host the extra 1,500 staff who we will be welcoming is therefore required in the brand new ‘Media Zone’.

Mark Thomas, Director of the BBC North Project, has now confirmed that a number of locations being considered have whittled away to leave just two.

These are:

Central Spine – Just between Whitworth Street and the Mancunian Way, a mere five minutes from the current location on Oxford Road (We’ve already got visions of BBC staff walking down the road carrying their computers if this one gets the green light!)

Quays Point – Located in Salford Quays, opposite the Imperial War Museum.

We’re hedging out bets that the Central Spine location will get the go ahead, not least because the City Council will surely be doing their upmost to keep Auntie within the city limits, even if Salford Quays is developing at great guns and is only down the road. Talks have been held already with Manchester City Council as they try and convince them to stay put in Manchester, while Salford City Council have been PR-ing to high heaven in a bid to convince them to move down to an area benefiting from plenty of investment and regeneration.

One surprising rejection was the spare land on the 21 acre site of Granada Studios. Granada had hoped the BBC would hook up with their operations, but the BBC have chosen to look elsewhere.

A final choice will be made in the summer, with the move being completed in 2010.

So what do you think? Which one should they go for? Or was there a better location for the BBC to lay their considerable hats? Let us know below…..

Tim Gough
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