05/01/2018 16:51 GMT

BBC Food Website To Remain Open, Preserving Thousands Of Recipes Online

There was a huge outcry when the site was earmarked for closure.

The BBC will no longer remove thousands of recipes from its popular BBC Food website after the corporation announced it had made £15 million savings elsewhere.

In May 2016 it was announced that 11,000 recipes would be removed from the corporation’s website, sparking widespread controversy.

The BBC said at the time that the food site would not be updated or linked to, but if users knew the URL for any of the recipes then they would still be able to access them.

The BBC will no longer remove thousands of recipes from its popular BBC Food website.

The corporation confirmed on Wednesday that the site would remain open and said savings for closing it were small compared to the number of people using it.

The BBC said in a statement: “We have made the £15m savings we needed to find from our online services, including changes such as stopping the iWonder service, closing the travel site and stopping developing a travel app, and closing the Newsbeat app, and we’re focusing on high quality, distinctive services as we said we would. 

“Following the audience reaction to the BBC Food proposal in 2016, we said we’d preserve the recipes.

“The savings for closing the site were small compared to the sizable audience impact, and as the public has continued to have an appetite for our recipes, we have kept the site.”

More than 202,500 people signed a petition calling for the site to be saved.

A statement on the petition site said at the time: “This is a much loved and used website and a precious resource for people across the country providing easy, free and importantly independent information on a vast range of foods and recipe options.

“The database provides inspiration for those with a few ingredients to come up with meal ideas and cook from scratch.

“When the Government is trying to promote healthy eating, surely it is madness to remove such a comprehensive archive which has taken years to create, not to mention time and money.”

The BBC’s announcement two years ago followed the publication of a government White Paper on the future of the corporation which set out a future plan for the broadcaster, including maintaining the licence fee.

At the time, then-chancellor George Osborne cited the size of the online recipe vault as a reflection of the broadcaster overreaching.

“If you’ve got a website that’s got features and cooking recipes – effectively the BBC website becomes the national newspaper as well as the national broadcaster,” he said.