Kent County Council pulls plug on TV service

A controversial council-run internet TV service is to be scrapped to save money.

Kent TV was launched by Kent County Council in September 2007 at a cost of £1.4 million with the aim of covering a range of topics of interest to people who live in, work in or visit the county.

The channel, which cost £600,000 each year to run, was criticised by some as a non-essential service that Kent's residents should not have to fund as part of their council tax.

The venture, the first of its kind in the country, was run by Bob Geldof's company, Ten Alps. and will stop broadcasting in March.

Council leader Paul Carter said the authority's spending had to be prioritised as it faced "different and difficult economic times" compared with when it was launched.

In a statement, he said: "Kent TV has proved itself to be a brave and bold innovation and we have learned a great deal from it. It has provided a source of practical, useful information for residents.

"However, we are living in different and difficult economic times compared with when the pilot was launched in September 2007. In difficult times our spending has to be prioritised.

"We have therefore decided that Kent TV will not continue when the pilot period ends in March 2010."

Roger Gough, Cabinet member for corporate support services and performance management, said the decision to scrap the channel followed an independent review.

He added: "This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. We have listened to feedback from many sources.

"We have carried out an independent review of Kent TV and we have taken all the available data into account, including assessing the benefits were we to go forward. We intend to continue to develop digital media to connect with the people of Kent.

"Our thanks go to Ten Alps and to the Kent TV team for providing a strong service for the last two and a half years."