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Revived 'legacy' newspaper to close for good due to 'challenging trading environment' after summer review halted publication

Weekly newspaper the Darlington Despatch, which was suspended from publishing in June, will not return to print due to the current “challenging trading environment”, its publisher has said.

The title had been back in print for just eight months when Newsquest decided to suspend publication over the summer while a review took place.

The title, which was formerly the Northern Despatch and had been out of print for 31 years, was one of several “legacy” titles to be relaunched by Newsquest in 2017 alongside the Christchurch Timesthe Bournemouth Herald and the Poole Herald.

A Newsquest spokesperson has now confirmed to Press Gazette that the hyrbid title (part free, part paid-for) will not be returning following the conclusion of the review.

They said: “The Darlington Dispatch was first suspended in the 1980s and revived last year.

“Unfortunately due to the challenging trading environment, we suspended it again in the spring and there are no imminent plans to revive it currently.”

The Despatch covered Darlington and towns in south west Durham, including Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe, and Willington.

Newsquest also covers Darlington with daily title the Northern Echo and its weekly sister title the Darlington and Stockton Times, both paid-for titles.

The Despatch was distributed to around 10,000 homes each week and was also available to pick up for free in select locations.

The Northern Echo’s Darlington edition had a circulation of 20,323 in 2017, while the Darlington and Stockton Times was read by an average of 14,214 people over the same period.

Rival regional publisher Reach recently said the free door-to-door distribution model is “no longer sustainable” due to a “continued decline in local print advertising, particularly in the key property platform”.

The publisher is therefore planning to end publication of free weekly Solihull News next month.

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