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BBC chooses Salford scheme as its Northern home

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The BBC has decided to build its new £400 million northern home in the Salford Quays.

After months of speculation the corporation has finally chosen Benoy and Fairhurst Design Group's Salford MediaCity:UK proposals to become the BBC's new regional hub and the base for almost 1,500 of its staff.

The news will come as a bitter blow to Ian Simpson, who had worked on a rival scheme, the Manchester Central Spine project, which would have stretched from the Mancunian Way to Whitworth Street.

The massive Salford development is expected to create more than 700,000m 2of new retail, commercial and residential space on the waterfront site, which will sit opposite Michael Wilford's Lowry and Daniel Libeskind's Imperial War Museum North.

Five BBC departments, including BBC Sport, Radio Five Live and Children's BBC, will be housed at the centre of the scheme and there are also plans for a new bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal.

Among the masterminds behind the victorious Media City:UK bid are landowner Peel Holdings, Michael Joroff, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company.

However, the deal is not completely cut and dried. Salford has only been named as 'leading bidder' with the intention that the team will become the 'preferred bidder' as long as 'certain [unknown] outstanding issues can be resolved'.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: 'I'm pleased that we have taken another step forward in our proposals to create a major new centre for networking broadcasting in the North of England.

'We remain very conscious that our proposal must still meet our stringent value for money criteria and be affordable.'

by Richard Waite

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