John Hemming, MP for Yardley, has written to BBC Director General Mark Thompson to try to discover what the future holds for the links between the BBC and Birmingham.
19th December 2011
BBC Birmingham factual programming unit
Dear Mr Thompson,
I wish to express my concern about the proposal in the ‘Delivering Quality First’ review to move all factual programming out of Birmingham and into Bristol. Having looked at this issue, I wonder if you could answer the following questions?
1) I understand that BBC factual programming is spread over seven sites: Belfast, Glasgow, Salford, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London. Is this true? I wonder you could you explain what type of factual programming each site specialises in?
2) I understand from the Delivery Quality First review document that it is proposed to reduce the number of sites that factual programming is done in, from seven down to six sites. The site that would be lost would be in Birmingham, with its programming moving to Bristol. Is this true? Could you indicate how the different specialism’s of factual programming will be spread across the remaining six sites?
3) Can you explain the business case for moving the Birmingham factual programming unit to Bristol? Why isn’t the opposite happening? Ie Bristol factual programming moving to Birmingham where the land rents are significantly cheaper than Bristol?
4) Can you confirm or deny whether the rumours that the BBC have done a deal with Bristol City Council that if you are successful in moving Birmingham’s factual programming unit to Bristol, the Council will financially support, either directly or indirectly, the creation of a new BBC Bristol building, away from its present location in Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Clifton?
5) Have you considered moving any of the present London based factual programming to Birmingham? If not, why not?
6) What will happen to the space created within the BBC Birmingham premises at the MailBox, if the factual programming unit moves to Bristol.
I would be grateful to a speedy response to the above, since I understand decisions on the proposed move of the Birmingham factual programming unit are imminent.
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You can read the response from Mark Thompson here