SITE operators for the Bilsdale mast have revealed their plans to move into new offices based in Stockton in coming weeks.

As part of an exclusive series of interviews with The Northern Echo, chief executive of Arqiva, Paul Donovan, revealed that the plan would allow the company to be “on top of events.”

Read more: Mother and two daughters from region involved in serious crash to appear on TV

The new offices, based off the A66 in Preston Farm, will provide a base for volunteers from the company from all over the UK who want to work on the programme.

Arqiva say the move is an attempt to curb rumours that the infrastructure company is far removed from events in the North East.

Mr Donovan said: “We know that there has been some coverage of people saying ‘well these people are coming up from Winchester and what do they know about anything that’s going on here.’ So we wanted to address that issue.

“The week after next, we will be actually moving into new service offices in Stockton, so we’ll have people on the ground here, making sure that people are serving the community and making sure we are on top of events.

“These offices are in Stockton on the A66 in Preston Farm."

Talking about the redundancies made within Arqiva last year, Mr Donovan said that 200 redundancies were made, instead of the initially rumoured 500.

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Date revealed for temporary mast to go live next week

The CEO continued to explain that Arqiva are currently recruiting for 100 more positions for “skill sets we don’t have in the organisation.”

Mr Donovan said: “There were claims that 500 redundancies were made at Arqiva, that’s not true, around 200 were made across the organisation, many of them were in corporate functions as a result of us having sold our mobile towers business..

“In fact we made around 200 redundancies across the organisation but actually, we have around 100 vacancies that we are currently recruiting for.

“We are making sure that we have the skills for the future rather than the skills that we had for the past.

“Definitely not 500 redundancies and actually a net reduction of 100 in a workforce of around 1,600."

Currently the business is recruiting for a programme director in crisis management and recovery, specifically to deal with incidents like the fire at Bilsdale

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Arqiva boss vows to do 'whatever it takes' to restore TV signal

Mr Donovan added: “Yes we are recruiting and have recruited externally for skill sets we don’t have in the organisation, crisis management is actually an area we have chosen to augment.

“Yes this is a crisis that the company is managing because why wouldn’t you have that expertise.

“We have recruited additional people in spectrum planning, because producing all of these maps and making sure there right is incredibly important.

“We have brought in project managers because we’re going to have to build a new mast which is a massive undertaking.

“A 500 tonne, 300-metre-high structure, so yes I’m hiring the right skills in the organisation to make sure the people in the region can be well served.”

Yesterday, Mr Donovan vowed to do “whatever it takes” to rectify the situation” for the tens of thousands of people still without TV signal.

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