Four local TV areas to merge into two following Ofcom consultation

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has elected to merge four areas originally intended to host stand-alone local TV channels into two.

The Gloucester and Malvern areas will now be covered by a single licence, while the Luton and Bedford regions have also been merged.

Ofcom said the “two sets of locations share sufficient cultural similarities”. The regulator added that it believed “merging the areas will make the licences more attractive to potential applicants, and the licensed services more likely to be viable.”

The decision came following a public consultation. An earlier consultation in June this year resulted in the merger of licences in Tonbridge and Maidstone into an area now known as Maidstone, and Hereford and Gloucester, now known as Gloucester,

The first round of 19 local TV licences are set for launch next spring. In total, around 50 towns and cities across the UK could eventually host new stations after Ofcom put out tenders for a further 30 licences.

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