S4C move 'would boost jobs and language' in Carmarthen
CARMARTHEN could become the new home for Welsh television channel S4C.
A feasibility study into the possibility of moving parts of the channel to other areas of Wales will focus on moving the channel's headquarters to one of two areas — Carmarthen or Gwynedd.
Channel bosses say it will not make any decisions until a second phase study is completed which is hoped will be done in the first half of 2014.
But it stressed it would maintain a "presence" in Cardiff.
Town and county councillor Alun Lenny, who played a leading part in setting up the present BBC studio in Carmarthen 20 years ago, said it was a "most exciting suggestion".
He said: "Relocating the channel's HQ to Carmarthen would serve to give S4C a dynamic new direction and be a fantastic boost to the language and job prospects in West Wales.
"Carmarthen is already a vibrant and busy administrative and commercial centre, indeed, more like a small city than a market town.
"It is just over an hour up the M4 from Cardiff, and closer to mid and north Wales that S4C's present HQ.
"Carmarthenshire has the largest number of Welsh speakers of any county — nearly 80,000, and a high percentage of S4C viewers live here.
"Many now believe, as I do, that the battle for the future of Welsh as a living language will be won or lost in this county."
Mr Lenny, who was a BBC Radio and S4C TV journalist based in Carmarthen for over 30 years, said the council will be on the case.
He added: "Having spoken to some of my fellow councillors over the weekend, we'll be doing our very best to persuade Carmarthenshire Council to do everything possible to facilitate a move west by S4C."
As the feasibility study progresses, the channel will work with a group that is led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen and Gwynedd Council.
S4C's chief executive, Ian Jones, said: "Moving forward with step two of our feasibility study shows that we're giving full consideration to how much more S4C can do to ensure that the whole of Wales benefits as much as possible from our existence as a national channel.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing the outcomes of the additional work that will be done now in conjunction with our potential partners in Carmarthen and Gwynedd.
"If in the end we move elements of our work to new headquarters in Carmarthen or Gwynedd, it will be in addition to a strong presence in Cardiff. If we decide to do so after receiving the full study, the process of moving may take several years of course. But there is no guarantee that we will move at all.
"I want to look at the work that is being done and if continuing to work in our current locations is deemed best, we are perfectly willing to accept that."
He added: "I would like to thank everyone who has contacted us with their ideas and desire to try to attract the channel to their areas.
"It has been a pleasure to see that such enthusiasm and initiative exists across Wales."