HC Deb 03 November 1954 vol 532 cc350-1
9. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that there are grounds for believing that when regular television broadcasts from the new Isle of Wight station are initiated, reception in the Brighton and Hove district will not be satisfactory unless the Truleigh Hill booster is maintained; and whether he will ensure that the booster is retained until satisfactory reception without it can be ensured.

Mr. Gammans

This matter is primarily a question for the B.B.C., but my noble Friend is in communication with them on the subject.

Mr. Marlowe

Does my hon. Friend realise that there are many people in this district who will get no reception whatever under the new arrangement, that it is not solely a matter for the B.B.C. but that there is a great moral responsibility on the part of his Department and the B.B.C., inasmuch as that when this station was instituted there was an undertaking that it would remain in position until the Isle of Wight station was in full production; that on the strength of that undertaking large numbers of people have bought sets and paid licence fees, and that, therefore, the Post Office is under an obligation to maintain the service until the Isle of Wight station comes into production?

Mr. Gammans

I fully appreciate the fact that there is considerable concern locally, but we had better await the discussions which we are having with the B.B.C. on this subject.

Dr. King

As some of us have pestered the Minister about this station for a long time, may I ask him if he is aware that Hampshire folk of all political parties are grateful for the new Isle of Wight station, which will bring good television to Hampshire for the first time?

Mr. Teeling

Would it be possible for Sussex Members of Parliament, who are very much involved in this matter, to meet both the Assistant Postmaster-General and B.B.C. representatives at an early date and, until some final decision is reached, would it also be possible for the removal of the Truleigh Hill booster to be postponed?

Mr. Gammans

I should be delighted to arrange a deputation if the hon. Gentleman and his friends would like it. As to the last point, I will at once pass that suggestion to the B.B.C.

Mr. H. Johnson

Is the hon. Member aware that, if there is either ability or willingness on the part of the B.B.C., the Truleigh Hill booster could be retained to operate on a staggered frequency, on the same basis as on the Continent and in America, and will he pursue that aspect of the matter with his noble Friend?

Mr. Gammans

We had better wait until we have had the deputation to my noble Friend and the B.B.C., when all those points can be put forward.