I published a post on this blog on June 10 mentioning letters written by hyperlocal website editor David Jackman of Everything Epping Forest to his subscribers, MPs, the Communities Minister and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport campaigning for the requirement for councils to print public notices only in local newspapers to be changed and suggesting they should be able to chose to put them on local websites.
I repeated the claims in the letter by Jackman, that the Epping Forest Guardian was charging the council £50k per advertisement. The publisher, Newsquest, says the figure is grossly incorrect.
The council notices in question are up to six full pages in length and Newsquest says no price has been agreed for the Guardian. Six full pages were carried in Newsquest’s sister paper, the Epping Forest Independent, at £14k in total. I have withdrawn the blog piece.
An Essex County Council report to Epping District Council's cabinet meeting on June 7 estimated that the total cost of publicising changes to car parking regulations would be £284,000. A webcast of the cabinet meeting has been taken down following a complaint from Newsquest that figures discussed at the meeting were inaccurate.
A spokesperson for Essex County Council and Epping Forest Distrcit Council said: "The cost of advertising obtained by Essex County Council and provided to Epping Forest District Council is only an estimate. Discussions between Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council are ongoing, no advertisements have been confirmed and no costs finalised. We will be seeking a full quote from Newsquest in order to establish the full cost of publishing these notices."
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