Reading Chronicle editor to head Fulham comms

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has appointed a local newspaper editor as its head of comms after a six-month search.

Simon Jones, editor in chief of the Reading Chronicle, will join the council on 23 July after 18 years in journalism. He will rep­ort to chief executive Lesley Courcouf.

Jones replaces acting head of comms Louise Rainey, who has served in the interim following Mike Browne’s departure (PRWeek, 24 Nov­ember 2006). Browne left at Christmas for a freelance career and has since set up How Now Communications, foc­using on local government comms.

Jones, who is also group editor of Berkshire Newspapers, is credited with introducing the first Polish ­language newspaper to the UK with the publication of Kronika Reading in October 2006.

At Hammersmith & Fulham, he will lead the council’s campaign against the Government’s grant settlement system (PRWeek, 24 November 2006).

The authority has joined with Polish community leaders to lobby the Government for more funding to support the large number of Eastern European immigrants in the borough.

Jones’ new role will also include comms around the delayed and over budget Imperial Wharf station.

The council is investigating the spiralling cost of the proposed overland train station, which was expected to open some time this year but will now almost certainly be pushed back.

Hammersmith & Fulham is working with neighbouring Kensington & Chelsea Council, Transport for London and the developers of Imperial Wharf, St George, to work out how to bridge a funding shortfall. Initial estimates of £3m have climbed to £6.5m.

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