Barnstaple TV one step closer to reality

Jan Stapley and Chris Harris are working on their bid for Barnstaple TV.

Jan Stapley and Chris Harris are working on their bid for Barnstaple TV. - Credit: Archant

North Devon duo confirm they are submitting an application for a local television station as Ofcom opens local television licences to bidders.

APPLICATIONS for local television licences opened for bidders yesterday (Tues) in 11 areas across the UK – including Barnstaple.

Those wishing to bid for the licence, which could reach 32,000 potential viewers across North Devon, have until January 7 to make their case.

In April, the Gazette reported ex-ITV cameramen Chris Harris and Jan Stapley had been campaigning to set Barnstaple TV.

Mr Harris said the duo were currently working on submitting their application to Ofcom.

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“We’re currently talking to local companies and organisations who are interested,” he said.

“We will have to sit down and write a business plan and figure out who is going to put their name to it.

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“We have until mid January to submit our bid and even then, if we are successful it could be at least 18 months before we are on the air.”

The duo held a series of meetings with local businesses and organisations in May to find out what people wanted from their local station.

As part of the licence agreement the station would receive funding from the BBC licence fee until 2017 and would have to air two hours of local television a day.

The licence would cover 24 hours of broadcast, would be available on Freeview channel eight, and could include the opportunity for people to submit their own content.

The local television licensing scheme comes as the Government hopes to see a network of up to 60 local channels.

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