BBC set to spend £77m on upgrade to Belfast headquarters
The BBC has announced it will spend £77m on an upgrade to its Belfast headquarters.
The proposal for the work to Broadcasting House on Ormeau Avenue was approved on Thursday by the BBC Board, with the announcement made to staff by the BBC's director general Lord Tony Hall.
Money invested will go towards structural work on the 77-year-old building to ensure its long-term sustainability, addressing what the state broadcaster says are "critical deficiencies".
It will also see the facilities at the site updated, giving it the "best infrastructure and technologies" to meet the needs of its audience across "numerous platforms and media".
Peter Johnston, director of BBC Northern Ireland, says: “Eighty years ago, in spring 1938, the original plans for the first Broadcasting House were revealed. It’s fitting, that today, we announce this new investment by the BBC which will maintain and enhance our rich heritage and history on this site in exciting new ways well into the future.
“Doing nothing was not an option. This is a big decision for the BBC and it’s about much more than just bricks and mortar. This major investment is a commitment to licence fee payers in Northern Ireland and will help us to become a more efficient and flexible broadcaster, better equipped to meet the needs of our diverse audience for years to come.”
Tony Hall, BBC director-general, said: “This is another sign of our commitment to Northern Ireland. We’ve already made the biggest single investment the BBC has made in Northern Ireland in 20 years which is going to transform our digital output. Now we’re making sure we have a Broadcasting House fit for the digital age, giving audiences more access, ensuring we can give them the best possible programmes and making sure we operate as efficiently as possible.”
The upgrade will also see changes to make the building made more accessible, with the creation of new audience areas, as well as the establishment of a technology centre of excellence which will see it building on partnerships with Queen's University Belfast, Ulster University, Northern Ireland Screen and Libraries NI.
Building work is forecast to run for around six years from 2018 to 2023.
The BBC has said the development is the result of a "rigorous process" focused on "value for money and the needs of audiences in Northern Ireland".
Belfast Telegraph Digital