Council provides free office space to local newspaper

Posted on: Friday 6 January 2012

Following the closure of the Pontypool Free Press office after more than 150 years in the town, Torfaen County Borough Council has offered the newspaper the use of an office at the civic centre, Pontypool every Friday.

Torfaen council has provided the office, which is normally used to discuss issues with residents, to help ensure a vibrant local press and close scrutiny of council business is maintained.

The leader of Torfaen council, councillor Bob Wellington, said: "It is vital the Free Press retains a presence in the centre of Pontypool. A vibrant local paper is important, as it can play a key role in providing a forum for residents to make their voices heard.

"Through the local press, ordinary citizens can discuss and deliberate on the issues that matter to them. Local newspapers serve as watchdogs and hold elected leaders accountable. They also help to shine a light on local government and keep residents informed.

"I'm positive this arrangement will be mutually beneficial for the paper and the council."

The office is adjacent to the main reception in civic centre and will be open for the public from 9.30am every Friday.

Newsquest East Wales and Gloucestershire publisher Kevin Ward said: "I am grateful to Torfaen council for showing again they are keen to support local businesses in tough economic times.

"Our decision to close our Pontypool office was not taken lightly and although our reporters and photographers remain active in the town and it is easy to get in touch with them in a variety of ways, this gesture by the council allows gives our readers another point of contact.

"The Free Press remains committed to Pontypool and the surrounding area, as it has been throughout its proud history."

Managing editor of the Free Press series Nicole Garnon added: "This offer came out of the blue but it was really welcome. It gives the public a drop-in facility in the heart of Pontypool but also gives our reporters a base from which to continue our local coverage.

"It also means we are well placed to continue reporting on the debates, discussions and activities of the local authority, coverage of which is a vital cornerstone of local democracy."


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