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Thursday, July 22, 1999 Published at 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK


BBC Scotland set for riverside move

BBC Scotland's Queen Margaret Drive premises

The BBC has agreed in principle to take an option on a riverside site for BBC Scotland's proposed digital broadcasting centre at Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

The plan, if finally approved, would mean about 800 staff moving from their present base at Queen Margaret Drive in the west end of the city.

The riverside site extends to 6.6 acres and is beside the Scottish National Science Centre currently being built at Pacific Quay on the River Clyde.

[ image: About 800 staff are involved in the move]
About 800 staff are involved in the move
The agreement to take the option carries several conditions, including the completion of a road access bridge which is planned to connect the site to Finnieston Quay on the north bank of the river.

The bridge has been planned by Glasgow Development Agency and Glasgow City Council as a key element of the effort to encourage economic growth along the riverside, including the former International Garden Festival site at Pacific Quay.

Subject to final BBC approval, tenders for the financing and construction of the new centre will be issued later this year. The earliest possible start date is set for January 2001.

BBC Scotland Controller John McCormick said: "The proposal to develop BBC Scotland's headquarters at Pacific Quay is an exciting and imaginative prospect and is progressing well.

'Complex and challenging'

"This is a complex and challenging set of circumstances in which we are determined to achieve the best outcome for licence fee payers.

"The intense negotiations we have been conducting will continue and I am very pleased to be able to move forward to the next stage."

[ image: The BBC aims to enhance its output]
The BBC aims to enhance its output
The BBC says Pacific Quay is part of a property strategy which is designed to ensure that the corporation has the facilities and the environment to attract and retain talent.

This means modern, flexible premises which are designed to cope with multi-media working and can be inexpensively adapted according to need.

In 1997, BBC Scotland completed a feasibility study covering several options for its future property requirements.

Since then it has concentrated its efforts on preparing a business case which embraces the operations in Glasgow and Edinburgh and which will see significant investment in journalism as a result of the creation of a Scottish Parliament.

Scotland-wide work

During the same period, the BBC has completed plans for a new broadcasting centre in Aberdeen.

Building work has started at Beechgrove Terrace and the project will be complete in the summer of 2000. A new broadcasting centre in Lerwick was opened last year.

The BBC employs around 1000 production and technical staff at 10 centres across the country.

This year BBC Scotland is investing almost 100m in radio and television programmes for Scotland and the networks as well as substantial online activity.

Last year an extra 10m for BBC Scotland's programme response to devolution was announced by the Board of Governors.

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