Paul Mortimer, editor of the Richmond and Twickenham Times, has been made redundant after a long appeal process.
Mortimer was first put on gardening leave in January and appealed against Newsquest’s decision to make him redundant.
It is understood that the company told staff that sales were not doing well.
The Times sold 14,292 in the latest set of ABCs compared to 16,841 in 2002, a drop of 2,549 in four years.
Managing editor Jo Gumb is now in overall charge of the paper. She is also in charge of several other Newsquest titles in south London that include the Croydon Guardian, the Sutton Guardian and the Wimbledon Guardian.
Assistant editor Scott Barr is now in charge of the Richmond and Twickenham Times news team, based in Richmond.
Mortimer said: “I think it’s one of the best papers I have had the privilege to edit. It’s gone through a revamp and I wish it well for the future.” One insider said: “We feel very sad that it happened, he is very much missed. Paul’s leaving has been a great loss to the paper and to the community.
We are trying to get on and keep the RTT as a quality paper — we’ve got a lot of pride in it.” During the uncertainty over his job, Mortimer received huge support from members of the community, including Liberal Democrat MP Vincent Cable, who arranged a meeting with Gumb to discuss the future of the paper.
Cable told Press Gazette: “I feel very sad because Paul was a very good editor, who gave the Richmond and Twickenham Times a new lease of life.
“I felt it was unfortunate that we lost him just as he was settling into the job.
“There were rumours that the newspaper might be leaving the borough, but I was categorically reassured it would be staying local and keeping its local roots, so some of my worries about the paper have been alleviated.” On the paper’s online message board, Gumb has informed readers of plans to relocate Richmond journalists to new offices in the town centre.
Mortimer began his 39-year career on the Staffordshire Advertiser and has worked on the Express & Star, Wolverhampton, the Birmingham Evening Mail and 11 Thomson Regional Newspapers Midlands weeklies.
Mortimer has also edited the Tamworth Trader and the Staffordshire Newsletter.
Update: A previous version of this story quoted incorrect ABC figures for the Richmond and Twickenham Times.