By 2011, about 1,500 London-based BBC posts will be relocated to a futuristic, 81ha ‘media city’in Salford, Greater Manchester. In a bid to decentralise the organisation and create a media magnet for independent production companies, five London departments, including Radio Five Live, will be moving from London to MediaCity:UK, and will be joined by another 800 staff currently based at the BBC in Manchester.
Media City is to be built in Salford Quays, which already houses more than 150 media-related businesses with 13,000 people working there. It will be a city in its own right, with shops and apartments, as well as space-age constructions such as floating ‘pods’in dock basins that will be used for conferences, and electronic signage beamed into windows.
BBC Children’s – including CBBC and CBeebies; BBC Children’s Learning; parts of BBC Future Media & Technology – including BBC Research and Development; BBC Radio Five Live – including Five Live Sports Extra; BBC Sport.
What can BBC staff expect of Salford?
Media City is on the Metrolink tram line so you could live in any of the surrounding areas, but if living on the waterfront appeals, there are a number of residential lettings throughout the quays. The BBC also plans to incorporate residential lettings in its developments.
Property in the original quays (between 11 and 28 years old) is the cheaper option. Renting a two-bedroom flat costs between £600-£675 a month (the cost increases for flats higher up the building), while buying one will set you back between £155,000 and £180,000.
The area is also home to townhouses, no higher than four storeys, while the newer apartment blocks canbe more high-rise. Renting a new two-bedroom flat costs £850-£1,300 a month, again depending on how high up the building it is, and prices to buy one start at £230,000 – right up to £700,000 for a penthouse. (Information supplied by JJT Residential Services)
Out and about in Salford
The Lowry, at Pier 8, Salford Quays, is home to galleries, restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as two theatres. The main gallery has the largest public display of work by LS Lowry in the country. The other galleries exhibit work by artists, sculptors and photographers throughout the year. Admission is free, with guided tours available for £2.50. www.thelowry.com
For those who believe in the supernatural, Ordsall Hall Museum claims to be Britain’s most haunted house. Located close to Salford Quays, the Tudor house holds regular exhibitions and fun days throughout the year and admission is free. You can watch the house’s ghostcam at www.salford.gov.uk/leisure.
If the modern architecture of the Quays gets too much, the Salford Museum and Art Gallery is home to Lark Hill Place, a recreation of a Victorian street of shops. The street was salvaged in 1957, when much of Manchester was being demolished to make way for modern buildings. The original shops have been restored with authentic furniture to capture the mood of the time.
Trams run from Manchester Piccadilly to Salford Quays every 12 minutes between 10am and 5pm, and every 15 minutes at all other times. Tickets can be bought online or at ticket booths at the stops. Single tickets are £1.80; off-peak returns (after 9.30am) are £1.90.
Trains run from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston every half-hour, taking two to two-and-a-half hours between the cities. A return journey starts at about £60.
Manchester Airport caters for both domestic and international flights. There are six trains an hour shuttling travellers between the airport and the city centre, with the journey taking 20 minutes. There are also regular buses.