BBC Quay House

BBC tour: Staff in place next week

The first 150 staff relocating from the BBC in London to Media City in Salford will move in this weekend and begin work at Quay House on Monday.

The initial arrivals will come from BBC Sport; the sports online team will start publishing from Salford in 'three to four weeks' time'.

Staff relocation will last for 36 weeks. Around 55% of staff in the affected departments have chosen to move north (see detailed stats below).

There will initially be 2,300 staff based at Media City, including 800 from Manchester's Oxford Road and 500 new appointments.

In addition, Mark Thompson, addressing a media tour of the site on Tuesday, said 2,500 BBC staff in departments not relocating had expressed their interest in being considered for roles at Media City.

Thompson said the buildings would not be operating at capacity and there was room for between 500 and 1,000 extra staff from further departments to join BBC North in the future. This was being considered as part of the corporation's ongoing Delivering Quality First review.

Thompson said: "In years from now the BBC will be run by people that cut their teeth in Salford."

He added the working environment in Salford provided staff with 'more fluidity' to collaborate with other departments and pursue 'diagonal careers'.

Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, said the BBC would reach out to content producers across the North but hoped the arrival of BBC North would not trigger relocations of media firms from Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds.

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards will be broadcast from the largest studio at Media City in December, called HQ1 and 12,500 sq ft. In June, the BBC Philharmonic will perform a live radio festival featuring all genres of music from dubstep to ecclesiastical and broadcast live across all BBC radio networks. Match of the Day will begin being broadcast from the Media City studio block in October.

See image gallery below for a look inside the BBC offices


  • Navigation of buildings is aided by visually themed walls such as 'history walls' covered with pictures from BBC archives, 'map walls' and 'word walls' to act as landmarks
  • There are no cellular offices, only open-plan working and lots of meeting areas of varying styles and privacy, including telephone booths and arched 'telechairs'
  • Staff are allocated a locker the size of 'one small box of personal items' each
  • Each floor has its own 'arrival zone' with kitchen and meeting table
  • The first building to fill up will be Quay House, on the corner site overlooking the canal
  • Quay House will contain Sports TV, Radio 5Live with studios facing the piazza on the ground floor, regional radio, production, and the canteen on the top floor
  • Quay House will also be the only 24/7 building the three
  • Bridge House, the middle building alongside the bridge across to the new Coronation Street set: BBC Children, CBBC, CBeebies, editing suites, BBC Academy training rooms
  • Dock House: Radio 3, religion, future media technology
  • The interior is bright and airy, with lots of design detail such as stencilled cupboards, multicoloured lockers and a large colour palette
  • Receptions will be staffed by local youngsters from 16-19 on six month, salaried 'ambassador programmes'
  • BBC Philharmonic moved in earlier this month

Employment and training

  • There will be approx 2,300 roles in Media City including 500 new vacancies at various levels
  • BBC North apprenticeships, 100 will be offered in the first three to four years, the first joining in September 2011 with 25 on site by May 2012.
  • Over 50 partnerships with organisations including universities across the north, 228 students have completed work placements
  • 50,000 people registered on the jobs website for the 500 vacancies at BBC North

Staff relocation

The rules for relocation apply equally to all staff regardless of seniority. For staff moving:

  • Removal services using an approved supplier
  • Taxable relocation payment of £5,000, except for those choosing a monthly payment towards temporary rental accommodation

For staff who are buying and selling property, reimbursement of essential expenses as defined by HM Revenue & Customs including:

  • Legal costs
  • Stamp duty based on the market valuation of the existing property plus a maximum of 10%
  • Reasonable estate agency fees up to 1.5% of the sale price
  • A contribution of up to £3,000 towards fixtures and fitting

Staff who choose to rent will be eligible for a maximum monthly payment of up to £1,900 for up to two years. This is taxable, paid against specific receipts and covers rent, council tax, utilities bills and weekly travel to London. Staff who take up the rental option are not eligible for the £5,000 relocation payment

Migration to date

  • 390 BBC staff have moved or are in the process of moving to the North
  • 89 have already moved; 201 are 'in flight'
  • 74% own property; 26% rented in the South
  • Of the eligible home owners 69% plan to buy a house
  • 31% of homeowners say they will rent temporarily in the North and keep a house in the south
  • 11% have selected capital advance on their property, ie the BBC buys their London home

The figures for migration will be updated during the relocation period and published on the BBC North portal at which will launch during week commencing 16 May

Cost to BBC

  • Total: £233.3m, offset, the BBC says by, £44m it would have spent refurbishing Television Centre if it had stayed in London

Cost breakdown

  • Building design and fit-out: £40.8m
  • People: relocation, recruitment, training and redundancy: £86.5m
  • Technology and facilities: Presentation areas, radio studios, editing facilities central infrastructure, £74.8m
  • Migration: move to Media City UK and dual running: £19.9m
  • Project North: Central project management: £11.3m
  • Peter Salmon, BBC North director, hoped the 'payback time' would be shortened from 20 years to 15 years thanks to efficiencies brought about by more modern technology and improved working practices – "it is easier to work here"

Delivery team

  • Developer: Peel Media, part of Peel Group
  • Construction: Bovis Lend Lease
  • Interior design: ID:SR, part of Sheppard Robson
  • Facilities management: Balfour Beatty Workplace
  • Fit-out: Overbury
  • Project management: Capita Symonds
  • Mechanical and electrical: Aecom
  • Quantity surveyors: Cyril Sweett
  • Architects: Wilkinson Eyre

Place event : Impact of Media City, 20 June, book now

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UPDATE: BBC North website went live this morning at

for those on Twitter, there is also a dedicated account now at @bbcnorth

By Ed

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