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Sunday Independent boss adds two Cornish weeklies to West Country portfolio

Two Cornish weekly newspapers have been bought by the owner of the region’s Sunday Independent sports newspaper.

Peter Masters bought the Newquay Voice and St Austell Voice titles last month through his company Independent Media Ltd.

He previously bought out the View From series of eight local newspapers in Devon but closed them less than six months later and sold them on.

The Voice titles were launched by independent news publisher Andrew Laming – Newquay in 2001 and St Austell five years later.

Laming told Press Gazette he plans to move into digital marketing, adding: “It seemed like the right time [to sell] and I wish the future owners well.”

Laming’s company AD Sales Ltd, which traded as Newquay and St Austell Voice, reported a profit of £65,954 in its latest full-year accounts to 31 July 2019.

There is currently a team of three journalists on each Voice paper alongside design, sales and part-time sports staff.

Masters saved the Sunday Independent from closure in April 2017, buying it two weeks after it published its “last” edition.

Three months later he bought the View From series of newspapers, which served Dorset, Devon and Somerset, after previous owners Capital Media Newspapers went into administration.

But he closed the titles in January 2018, blaming “falling revenues”.

Some 30 staff who were made redundant as a result subsequently launched claims for pay in lieu of notice, redundancy money and arrears of pay.

Duncan Williams, who had bought the View From brand from Masters for £1 with the aim of relaunching the titles, was found personally liable for up to £250,000 owed to staff at an employment tribunal.

Masters told Press Gazette in 2017 that he was looking to add more titles to his portfolio in a bid to provide “complete, in-depth coverage” across the West Country.

He later bought Cornwall Today magazine after it was closed by publisher Reach and continues to publish it along with the Sunday Independent.

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