LONDON - The UK's publicly-funded broadcaster, the BBC, has chosen Salford Quays, outside Manchester's city limits, as its provisional new northern England headquarters.

The controversial £400 million ($737m; €586m) shift of some BBC TV, radio and commercial operations out of London will see the transfer of up to 1,500 staff in 2010.

Their near-neighbours will not only be Manchester United soccer club and the Old Trafford cricket ground, but also the impressive Lowry arts complex and the Imperial War Museum North

The choice of the Salford MediaCity:UK is subject to further negotiations and the "affordability of the project", which depends on the level of funding available through the annual license fee paid by viewers.