BELEAGUERED wi-fi boss Rikki Hunt is to surrender his share in Digital City UK to Swindon Council, it has emerged.

Mr Hunt, who remains CEO of the firm, made the revelation at a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee on Monday night.

He also cited “public noises” as a reason the project had stalled, suggesting the intense scrutiny of the company’s practices had previously scared off potential suitors.

As the Adver revealed last month the firm, which is part owned by the council, is in talks with other investors.

Earlier this week it was revealed the company had defaulted on the last three months’ interest payments owed on the £400,000 loan from the council.

Mr Hunt said he would gift his 30 per cent share in Digital City to the council but denied he was walking away from the project.

He said: “I’m still confident that this town can do it and I am not doing this to walk away.

“What I’m trying to do here is recognise I brought the council into this and if another investor comes along and wants shares, it will dilute them.”

The move would give the council a 65 per cent stake overall. The other 35 per cent will remain with technical partners aQovia.

Rikki said: “There has been a lot of effect on the business with the public noise and debates that have gone on. It has affected planned investment.

“If there is criticism of any public service there is an impact. The impact when the criticism is of a private company is ten-fold – it is far greater.

“We’ve been to scrutiny six times now.

“I have no issue with council scrutiny – we’ve had our fair share but it;s a good process.

“When I go on about noise I mean the kind that is politically damaging to us and the aggression towards the project.”

Rikki said he hoped to continue in his role at Digital City but admitted a new partner might mean he will be shown the door.

“I hope I am involved as its CEO because I believe in the concept and I’m happy to do that,” he said.

“I have to recognise, however, that should an investor come in – when they do – they may want to bring their own team.”

“Whether that happens history will tell but I have no fear about that.”