16/02/09 Threat of TV switchover blackout over Christmas
Thousands of Skelmersdale residents could be left without a TV signal following the council’s planning committee decision to defer the application on plans for a new digital TV aerial pending a site visit.
It is expected the planning committee will now hold their visit on Monday 16th March with a decision expected at the planning committee meeting on Thursday 19th March.
Local MP Rosie Cooper wants the planning committee to hold the site visit as soon as possible to avoid a situation where many residents could be left without access to programmes over Christmas.
MP Rosie said:
“I strongly urge the planning committee to hold the site visit at the earliest possible opportunity. If any issues do arise then they can be resolved prior to next committee meeting. My concern is further delays could mean a TV blackout for some residents as they would not be able to receive the new digital signal following the switchover in November 2009."
“I understand there have been objections to the application and it is necessary for the correct planning procedures to be followed. For these reasons perhaps a site visit prior to the planning committee meeting should have happened."
It is vital a decision is made on the application to allow sufficient time for the new aerial to be constructed; the installation of the necessary technological equipment and for it to be operational in time for the switchover.
Rosie has previously raised the issue of signal black spots in Parliament with Rt. Hon Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport plus she has met with industry regulator OFCOM and corresponded with DigitalUK to ensure that everyone has access to TV after the switch over in November.
Rosie commented further that:
“It would be totally unacceptable for residents to lose out after all the hard work that has taken place to find a satisfactory solution to this problem.”