S4C plans to move HQ from Cardiff to Carmarthen

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Media captionThe new HQ would be based on the Trinity Saint David University campus in Carmarthen

S4C has announced plans to move its Cardiff headquarters to Carmarthen.

The Welsh language broadcaster had also considered moving to Caernarfon in Gwynedd or staying in Cardiff.

It has had its base in the Welsh capital since the channel's launch more than 30 years ago.

Chief Executive Ian Jones said the decision was "a major step forward" for S4C's plans to boost the economy and Welsh language in another part of Wales.

S4C worked with two groups, one led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen and another led by Gwynedd council, before making its decision.

'Exciting and ambitious plans'

Under the plans, the channel would also co-locate its transmission activities with the BBC in a new broadcast centre in Cardiff. It would also maintain its current presence in Caernarfon.

Huw Jones, chair of the S4C Authority, said: "The Carmarthen bid is a transformational bid.

"It's building a new centre - it's based on the Trinity Saint David University site campus - and the intention there... is to build a new centre which will be a hub for creative industries, for language-based projects and for links to education.

"The intention and hope therefore is this will be an important injection of not just jobs, but also status for the Welsh language in that particular area of west Wales."

If the plans are realised, it will mean a new headquarters for S4C on the outskirts of Carmarthen and about 50 posts moving there. The target is to be operational on the site in 2018.

Mr Jones said: "We agree that it is feasible and practical to move S4C's headquarters to Carmarthen, and in line with our conditions, the plans which have been presented to us are cost-neutral over a period.

"We're confident that these plans would be beneficial to the service we offer, and offer economic and linguistic benefits to Carmarthen."

A spokesperson for BBC Cymru Wales said: "We welcome the S4C Authority's decision today to approve in principle the co-location of a number of broadcast activities with the BBC at a new, purpose-built broadcast centre in Cardiff by 2018.

'Job opportunities'

"The authority's decision follows a period of close collaboration between both broadcasters.

"The BBC's Executive Board and Trust is expected to consider final proposals for the new broadcast centre in the coming weeks."

Carmarthenshire council leader councillor Kevin Madge said the S4C move was great news for Carmarthen, and the area.

Mr Madge said: "The move will mean the creation of about 150 jobs and is a real boost to the local economy.

"It is also a major boost for the Welsh language, providing good quality job opportunities for Welsh speakers."

But Gwynedd council leader councillor Dyfed Edwards described the announcement as a major disappointment.

"Over the past year or so, council officers and members have worked closely with S4C to develop an exciting proposal to relocate to Caernarfon that met the authority's brief," he said.

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Media captionS4C Authority chair Huw Jones told BBC Radio Wales the move had the potential to be 'transformational'

"However, this has been a positive process that has allowed us to showcase the huge potential of Gwynedd and north-west Wales as a major hub for the creative industries.

"The challenge for us now will be to build on this positive work in order to attract new high quality jobs to the area."

First Minister Carwyn Jones tweeted: "Welcome news from @s4c - 2018 move to Carmarthen will create specialist jobs & promote use of Welsh language locally"

Welsh Secretary David Jones said: "While I welcome the fact that S4C will continue to have a presence in Cardiff, I have no doubt that re-locating its main office to Carmarthen will help provide a significant boost to the local economy in Carmarthenshire and secure a strong future for Welsh as a community language."

Plaid Cymru's Welsh language spokesman Simon Thomas said: "Relocating S4C's headquarters will bring an economic boost to the area, and it would be good to see more public bodies doing the same.

"It is extremely important that we have national institutions outside of Cardiff."

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