KM Group has announced plans to launch a new paid-for title following the closure of Northcliffe’s East Kent Gazette yesterday.
The company had been hoping to buy the Gazette along with six other titles from Northcliffe’s Kent Regional News and Media group, but the deal collapsed after it was referred to the Competition Commission.
Since then both companies have announced redundancies, while today also sees the closure of Northcliffe’s Medway News.
Now KM Group has unveiled plans to launch the Sittingbourne News Extra, which will go on sale next Wednesday with a cover price of 65p.
It is being produced by the team behind the 153-year-old Sheerness Times Guardian, with additional journalists being brought in to help on the new paper.
KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson said: ‘We believe there is a real need for a community newspaper serving the people of Sittingbourne, and if the KRNM deal had gone ahead we would certainly have continued to publish the East Kent Gazette.
“The reaction from readers following the decision to close the title, including a well-backed Facebook campaign, gives further support to that view.
“We hope readers and advertisers will support the new title, which will be devoted entirely to the Sittingbourne area. We look forward to providing people with a truly local voice.”
Editor Matt Ramsden added: “We are very conscious that people quite rightly had a close bond with the East Kent Gazette and that we cannot hope to replace 156 years of history.
‘However, we hope we can work with the community to deliver a newspaper that, in time, they will think of as their own.
“Most of our team already have very strong ties to the Sittingbourne area and we hope people will welcome this launch.”
KM Group will continue to publish the Sittingbourne Messenger on a Friday