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Ofcom delays decisions on remaining local TV bids

Media regulator Ofcom has delayed its decisions on the remaining eight local TV licences to be awarded, which will now not be completed until the end of February.

It was originally due to announce all 19 successful bidders to run the first local channels by the end of this year but the regulator is seeking further information from the applicants.

So far, 11 licences for local TV stations have been awarded, including to Birmingham, Brighton, Grimsby and Oxford, but there are still eight more bids to decide on.

It has also emerged that there were issues with the licences awarded for Nottingham and Sheffield last week which saw the them withdrawn for reconsideration – although they have now been re-awarded to the original successful bidders.

Ofcom said it had asked the applicants where no decision had been made to provide further details on their “programming commitments”, regarding the initial content for the channels and their news output.

A spokesman said: “We have already licensed over half of the local TV channels and will complete the process over the coming months.

“In order to fully assess the remaining applications, we have asked applicants to clarify some aspects of their programming commitments. We have therefore updated the indicative timetable to reflect this.”

The remaining bids to be decided are Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Preston.

It is understood that certain bids already given licences have also been asked for further clarification.

The applications for Nottingham and Sheffield were given to Notts TV and Sheffield Local Television Ltd respectively but Ofcom said that “small errors” were found in the consideration of the applications.

This led to them being withdrawn for further consideration, but they have now had their licences re-awarded.