Local titles are already closing at a rate of 10-15 a week, chief executive Claire Enders said at a Westminster Media Forum Event.
The nationals will also be affected, with two titles likely to close over the same period, she said, echoing the forecast given by the Guardian’s digital director Emily Bell.
The current economic downturn and the commercial impact of changing advertising models will result in local media - both publishers and advertisers - shedding half their workforce over the next five years, she added.
"Local newspapers are carrying the full pain of the terrible decline felt in our local communities," Enders told delegates.
"The elimination of local advertising as support for local media has diminished local media (…) speed is of the essence."
Bigger regional groups and smaller local newspaper publishers with two or three titles are faring better in the current market compared to the 'sprawling conglomerates', she added.
With regards to regulation in the UK, Enders said cross-media ownership regulations should be relaxed to allow local media to run their businesses 'as they see fit and to meet demand'.
Cross media ownership, for example local newspapers buying radio stations, should not be discouraged if it helps either of those outlets to survive, she said, adding that a 'scaleable networked solution' could emerge for local media.
"Consolidation has kept individual titles afloat and kept community support going," she said.
"There are no companies investing in this sector except for the companies who are already in it. Everybody’s been trying to get out of the local press."
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