Johnston Press has won the first round in the battle with Local Sunday Newspapers, publisher of Bedfordshire on Sunday, which was planning to launch a paper in Northamptonshire.
A judge has not upheld the injunction LSN was seeking against Johnston’s new free Northants on Sunday. The new title was launching at the same time as LSN planned to go into Rushden with a new paper called Northamptonshire on Sunday.
The judge, at the High Court hearing on Friday, said he believed that the Bedfordshire-based LSN group did not have sufficient "goodwill and reputation" in Northants.
LSN disputes this, claiming many of its potential readers in Rushden work and go out in Bedford.
Following the hearing, Johnston, whose Northamptonshire News-papers publishes two evenings and a string of weeklies in the county, distributed around 48,000 copies of Northants on Sunday into Rushden and other towns across the county at the weekend.
It now plans to increase distribution to 80,000 for the new paper which will have a five-strong team of journalists.
Meanwhile, LSN has put its plans for Northamptonshire on Sunday on ice. LSN chief executive Mike Richardson said: "We are going to regroup. Whereas before we were going to launch into Rushden because it was a good add-on, we are now going to review our strategy and look at a county-wide publication."
Peter Walker, divisional managing director of Johnston’s South Midlands division, said: "I am pleased at the outcome of the proceedings initiated by LSN which vindicated the position of Northamptonshire Newspapers. We are now looking forward to developing our new Sunday publication as part of our portfolio of high-quality newspapers."