Liverpool fears loss on satellite venture

SOME of Liverpool's city councillors fear that the glamorous name of David Plowright, the former chairman of Granada Television, has lured the city into losing £260,000 on starting an international satellite TV news service.

The city has a £300,000 guarantee against a Lloyds Bank loan to European News Service, which is chaired by Mr Plowright, who rose to fame as the driving force behind successes such as Brideshead Revisited and World in Action.

On Friday, Michael Short, chief executive of ENS, denied a local newspaper report that Lloyds had called in the guarantee. "ENS is still operating with an understanding banker," he said.

"We are not writing cheques on our account, but reports that the account has been closed are untrue."

"We are just one of 25 companies in this area held up by delayed EU funding," he added. "We have enemies who leaked our confidential request for council help to pay the rent on our offices. But thanks to an understanding landlord, we have not lost our offices."

Mr Plowright told Liverpool's chief executive, Peter Bounds, last October that the project, run by two of his former Granada TV staffers, was in difficulties.

Liverpool had guaranteed the loan after a 1993 seminar at which Mr Plowright was introduced to councillors. "Getting Plowright to Liverpool was like getting Busby to Anfield," said Councillor Harry Rimmer. At the time, the council's head of economic initiatives reported that "the risk attached to this guarantee will not be more than 20 per cent".

ENS planned to set up the Satellite Collection Centre in Liverpool, which would employ 46 people and control news gathering bureaux in Brussels and Prague.

Mr Short, 46, who set up Granada TV's news centre in Albert Dock, Liverpool - and organised the "Waddington Experiment", in which Granada filmed a Lancashire village getting its own cable TV service - worked on the launch with Brian Thomas, 43, the director of operations who had previously worked for NBC and Granada.

Both men were paid £4,000 a month, working in waterfront offices provided under a rent grant by the Merseyside Development Corporation . They stopped taking their salaries last November.

Their "co-operative of European broadcasters" was said to be chasing a £450,000 DTI selective grant, a £2m European Union soft loan, an equity stake of £1.5m from the Dutch electronics group Philips, a £500,000 equity stake from Conus, the pioneering US TV news exchange, and support in Prague through the Soros Foundation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

£350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer
 SQL, C#, VBA, Linux, SQL Se...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment