CHESHIRE FM has been forced off the air after it was issued with a compulsory winding-up order.

The community radio station, based at Winsford’s Verdin Exchange building, has been broadcasting across mid Cheshire for five years and was recently granted a renewal licence by Ofcom that gave it permission to broadcast until 2017.

A statement on the company’s Facebook page read: “Cheshire FM Ltd. was subject to a compulsory winding up order on January 24, 2012 at Crewe County Court.

“The station ceased transmission at 2.30pm on Friday January 27, 2012.”

Bob Barton, company director, said the station had been struggling financially but the winding up order came out of the blue.

He added: “We thought we had turned a corner but we still have an on-going dispute.

“We have gone off air for the time being but we are trying to restructure the company with new directors. “We have five members of staff and obviously it’s our priority to try and safeguard those jobs.”

Regular listener, Alan Langley, said it was a shame the station had closed down.

He added: “I would listen to it all day when I was out and about in my car. I think it is good idea to have a station as local as Cheshire FM and it is a shame that it has now gone.”

Listeners also posted messages on the station’s Facebook site. One said: “This is just dreadful. I am gutted. I can't tell you how much Cheshire FM kept me company through the days and eves. So sad.”

Another said: “Hopefully something can be done to bring it back soon.”

Other directors at the station are Mike Worthington, Nick Hughes, Damon Horrill and Ernie Welsh.