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The old Lydgate relay station was forced off the air from 1400 on 11-Apr-2000. 

The mill on which the relay was situated had been disused for several months and the landlord, ntl, was already looking for alternative sites. The station had already suffered from many outages in the previous weeks/months as a result of vandals repeatedly breaking into the mill and switching off the electricity supply. 

The demolition work was due to start on the mill towards the end of April, and the Yorkshire Electricity Board turned up on 11-Apr-2000 to disconnect the mill at the local sub-station. When Y.E.B. realised that the relay station was affected they offered to arrange for a temporary supply to be installed to the mill, however once they saw the dangerous conditions inside the mill, they objected.

Planning permission for a new site had already been refused prior to all this. The decision was taken that only when planning permission was received would even a temporary solution be engineered. Now the station was off, the planners suddenly seem to have become more amenable and wanted to discuss the matter ASAP and despite objections from a handful of residents - whose reception remained unaffected - planning permission was finally granted at a local planning meeting on 4th July.

The plan was to complete construction by the end of Sep-2000. But in July solicitors acting for a local resident advised that they would take legal action if ntl trespassed on their land. The only other route to access route to the site was across fields which, due to heavy rainfall, had been churned into impassable mud. 

NTL sought planning permission for an access road to the new site but, of course, this delayed things further.

BBC tv featured the issue on their Watchdog programme in mid-December-2000 and the story also featured in The Todmorden News - see right >

Services to viewers were restored from the temporary site on 14-Dec-2000 at 1550. 

The work on the permanent site still took many months, not least because the Y.E.B. had to take legal action against a local resident  to ensure they had wayleave over his land to lay the electricity cables to the site.

Back on air - at a cost

TELEVISION viewers in Lydgate and Lineholme whose screens have been blank since April are to be given some good news next week - and some bad.

The Todmorden News can reveal that the good news is that by next weekend near normal transmissions should be restored. However, the bad news is that because the temporary mast is 500 metres north of the former Mons Mill tower, viewers are going to have to fork out of their own pockets to have their aerials readjusted in a last ditch attempt to have TV pictures by Christmas.

A spokesman for NTL, Mr Bruce Randall, said that letters would be sent out to up to 400 homes advising them of the temporary solution and also reminding viewers that the company was not liable for any costs incurred.

Mr Randall said the temporary mast should be operational from Monday, December 18. "There have been numerous obstacles to restoring transmissions since the old Mons Mill site was forced to close in April," Mr Randall explained. "Access restrictions to the new site have been made worse by record breaking wet weather, rendering the construction site impossible until at least the Spring. Because of this longer term delay, we have managed to install a temporary solution, which I am delighted to say should be operational in good time for the Christmas and New Year holiday season."

Although NTL might have its mast up and running in time for the festive season it seems unlikely that all viewers will be able to get quality television pictures without frantic last minute adjustments to aerials. A problem free adjustment for a rigger is likely to cost a minimum of 22.

"Aerial riggers will be able to work from Monday December 18," Mr Randall said. "We recommend that residents enlist the services of a good local aerial rigger who will be best placed to advise them on an individual basis. We stress however that reception is the responsibility of the viewer and NTL can accept no liability for any costs incurred."

In NTL's opinion it was unlikely that further adjustments of aerials would be required when the permanent mast is fitted at Higher Ashenhurst next year.

The Todmorden News

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