The only local newspaper dedicated to covering the London borough of Westminster has closed.
The Westminster News was relaunched by Tindle Newspapers in 2014 after being first established in 1857. It was part of a five-strong stable of titles comprising the London Weekly News Group.
It was launched following the closure by Trinity Mirror of the Westminster Chronicle.
In 2016 the titles were sold to Capital Media Newspapers in a management buyout. The company also owns the South London Press and Dorset titles the View From series and Pulman’s Weekly News.
Press Gazette understands that the closure of the Westminster title comes as part of a round of cost-cutting which sees its news editor, Geoff Baker, lose his job. Baker was responsible for producing all the content for the title as well as the Chelsea and Kensington edition.
Another journalist, who produced content for the Fulham, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush editions of the London Weekly News group – has left of his own accord.
Baker, who was based in Lyme Regis, will be replaced by a trainee reporter who will also file copy for the other three titles in the group and work out of the London offices of the South London Press.
Press Gazette understands that the Westminister title had a free weekly circulation of around 5,000 and was loss making.
Baker has 40 years experience in journalism and the media and worked as Paul McCartney’s PR man for 15 years.
Capital Media Newspapers chief executive Philip Evans said: “I can confirm that we have reluctantly taken the decision to close the Westminster News, part of the London Weekly News Group. Free distribution in this part of London is extremely difficult and it was not cost efficient to continue delivering in this area.
“The advertising market in central London is particularly challenging and we have decided to concentrate our efforts on our other titles, the Kensington & Chelsea News , Fulham Chronicle, Hammersmith Chronicle and Shepher’s Bush Chronicle, which are hugely popular with readers and where we get excellent support from advertisers and the local councils.
“At the same time we have decided to move our editorial operation for the London Weekly News into our South London Press office which has resulted in dispensing with the services of a team of freelances, including Geoff Baker who has done and brilliant job since the launch of the titles in November 2014.”
Westminster continues to be covered by the Hampstead and Highgate Gazette and West End Extra.