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Independent publisher expands portfolio with purchase of free title

An independent publisher has expanded its portfolio after purchasing a free newspaper originally launched 14 years ago.

The Leveller, first established in 2010 by Andrew Lee, distributes 15,000 monthly copies across Somerset, serving towns such as Bridgwater, Yeovil, Taunton, Street and Glastonbury.

Now it has been bought by Blackmore Vale Ltd, founded in 2020 when it revived the former Reach-owned title of the same name.

The Leveller – named after the Somerset Levels – joins the New Blackmore Vale, the Purbeck Gazette, the Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the New Stour & Avon in the company’s expanding stable.

Leveller NBV new
Paul Jones, a former editor of the County Gazette and the Weston Mercury in Somerset, will edit The Leveller, having joined the Blackmore Vale group as editor in chief in 2022

Andrew will continue to run the separate, subscription-based Somerset Confidential newsletter.

Blackmore Vale Ltd publisher Lloyd Armishaw said: “The Leveller is a respected title in Somerset and we will continue providing the news people want and expect, as well as broadening the publication’s horizons and putting it at the heart of the community.

“We believe providing reliable, balanced news is vital in our communities – for readers and advertisers – and that is what we do,” he said.

Lloyd said he aimed to continue expanding the group’s footprint, with the aim of publishing at least 10 titles in the next 18 months.

He said the firm was exploring opportunities in North Somerset, Mid and North Wiltshire, and South and West Hampshire.