Hertfordshire on Sunday closes after eight years

Hertfordshire on Sunday is to close on 10 December to allow publisher Iliffe to concentrate on its Advertiser series.

There will be no redundancies as a result of the move.

Bridget McAlpine, who became editor of the title when it was taken over from LSN Media, will be redeployed as deputy production editor on HEN flagship title, paid-for weekly the Hertfordshire Mercury (circulation 29,581).

Trainee reporter Daniel Phillips will join McAlpine on the Mercury.

The company said the group's Hitchin, Baldock & Letchworth Advertiser offered better opportunities for growth than HoS, which has a distribution of 36,224. Archant also covers the area with its free Comet series.

In a memo leaked to Press Gazette, Herts & Essex managing director Paul Thompson said: "Following the acquisition of the Advertiser series of titles we have been strategically evaluating our publishing portfolio in the North Herts area. "As a result of this, Herts on Sunday will publish its last edition on 10 December. The Hitchin, Baldock & Letchworth Advertiser covers the same area to that of Hertfordshire on Sunday, and it is felt that the Advertiser title affords us a better opportunity for growth in that area.

"No job losses are envisaged as a result of this change."

NUJ father of chapel David Tooley sent out a statement saying: "The chapel greatly regrets the loss of Hertfordshire on Sunday… editorially, it had begun to pick up contacts and a loyal readership.

"Its loss leaves the Comet series with no editorial competition in parts of North Hertfordshire.

"Thankfully, there will be no redundancies as the two designated journalists — editor Bridget McAlpine and reporter Daniel Phillips — are to be redeployed on HEN's flagship publication, the Hertfordshire Mercury.

"Herts & Essex Newspapers recently acquired the free Advertiser series, which circulates in the same areas, and the chapel understands the company feels these new titles offer greater growth potential.

"However, we are disappointed that HEN could not consider some sort of merger between HoS and the Advertisers to create news-led publications."

The paper was launched in 1998 by free newspaper publisher Frank Branston, now the mayor of Bedford, who started his empire by launching Bedfordshire on Sunday.

Iliffe acquired HoS in August 2005 and the title became part of the company's Herts & Essex Newspapers just under a year ago. Branston said: "It's a shame the paper is closing down. "It certainly brought a somewhat more acerbic journalism to Hertfordshire."

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