Planning reforms could see welcome investment for on-line newspapers.

Business / Sun 9th Aug 2020 at 03:47pm

ON-LINE newspapers such as YourHarlow could receive much needed investment as part of the government’s plans to shake up the planning system.

Ministers launched a wide-ranging consultation on planning reform, following the release of the Planning for the Future white paper earlier this year.

At present, councils are obliged to publish notices about planning applications in local printed newspapers, a revenue stream estimated to be worth around £50-60m a year to the industry.

However the government now wants councils to use digital tools to publicise local planning proposals and has explicitly questioned the role of print newspapers in the process.

The white paper states: “We need to modernise the day-to-day operation of the planning system. Residents should not have to rely on planning notices attached to lamp posts, printed in newspapers or posted in libraries.”

Your Harlow publisher Michael Casey said: “We are the only Harlow-based news source in the town, a town of 85,000 people and growing.

We have had over 3.2 million page views this year and yet because we are on-line only we are not allowed to receive planning notices.

“Technically, if there was a planning application in Harlow and the one printed news paper left in the country was in the Shetland Islands, then it would have to go in there. Madness and a terrible waste of hard-working tax payers money

“If we received this money we could plough it into apprenticeships and skills, creating opportunities for a next generation of journalists from Harlow.

“This also applies to the hundreds of other on-line newspapers across the country.

“I will be seeking the support of Harlow MP Robert Halfon on this matter.”

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