Your Leek Paper is among series of weekly closures

Iliffe News and Media announced this week that it was closing Your Leek Paper, an independent paid-for weekly newspaper which was launched in the Staffordshire market town in 2003.

It was one a series of newspaper closures announced this week.

The paper was launched by seven former colleagues from the then Northcliffe-owned Leek Post and Times, which was the town’s established weekly.

It built up a solid paid-for circulation of more than 5,000 a week and expanded by launching a glossy magazine called Times Gone By, a design agency and an online business magazine.

In May 2006 the paper was bought by Illiffe News and Media, one of the UK’s largest independent local newspaper groups.

Iliffe’s Staffordshire Newspapers division bought the Leek Post and Times in June this year, paving the way for the merger of the two titles.

At its peak Your Leek Paper employed some 20 full and part-time staff. It is not know how many jobs will be lost as a result of the merger.

Press queries were referred to Iliffe News and Media head office and Press Gazette is awaiting further information.

The Leek Post and Times sold 11,419 copies a week in the first six months of this year – a sales figure which has been more or less remained level over the last five years.

Meanwhile, Northcliffe’s free weekly the Bridgwater & Burnham Times has also published its last edition.

“The economics of producing free newspapers have become more challenging in recent years,” said Philip Welch, editor of Mid Somerset News & Media.

“We reached this decision with sadness but we are looking at new ways to serve the people of Bridgwater, Burnham and Highbridge.

“Our plans for the future are to further strengthen and invest in our highly successful Mid Somerset Series of paid-for newspapers and to expand our portfolio of other publications and events.”

Trinity Mirror has closed its free weekly The Darlington and South Durham Herald and Post after claiming the title was no longer profitable.

The paper, which was distributed to 34,000 homes, published its last edition on Monday

In a statement regional managing director Bob Cuffe said: “Trading conditions in 2011 have been challenging and our revenues are lower than we had expected.

“In order to ensure we can build a sound base for 2012, further action is needed.

“Consequently, we are announcing a change to our portfolio which will improve our performance in the months ahead.

“The Darlington and South Durham Herald and Post, which distributes to 34,000 homes in the area, has been struggling to maintain itself as a profitable product.

“We therefore propose that we close the title as soon as possible.”

Last week Trinity Mirror said it was closing three free weekly titles: the Chase Post, the Stafford Post and the Sutton News.

Johnston Press has also announced plans to switch the Whitby Gazette back to weekly publication from next year after 11 years as a twice-weekly title, but there were understood to be no job losses as a result of the move.

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