St Ives Direct announces Westerham Press and Blackburn closures

By Simon Nias, Thursday 10 November 2011

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St Ives Direct has announced the proposed closure of the award-winning report and accounts and fine art printer St Ives Westerham Press and its Blackburn multimedia print site.

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St Ives said that the proposal was the result of an extensive review of the St Ives Direct division and was in line with its ongoing strategy to reposition its business "from commoditised print to value-added marketing services that include print".

Patrick Martell, chief executive of St Ives, described the proposed closure of the Blackburn site and the Kent-based Westerham Press, which was founded by the late Rowley Atterbury in 1950, as "regrettable yet necessary".

"Our employees at both sites have all made a valuable contribution to our business and a full consultation will take place over the coming weeks to identify alternative roles within the Group, to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies," he added.

"The closures will enable us to continue with our strategy to provide customers with value-added marketing services, enabling us to operate successfully in a challenging, ever-changing environment."

Francis Atterbury, son of Rowley and partner at Hurtwood Press, said: "I'm very sorry to hear of the decision to close Westerham Press. That it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the trade is telling.

"Through the creation of ROCAPPI in the 1950s, alongside pioneering four-colour offset-lithography in the sixties and export sales in the seventies, Westerham Press placed this country at the forefront of the printing industry and coming digital age. It is testament to the quality of the people inculcated in the culture of this company that the name still resonates."

Under the proposal much of the existing commercial print work produced across the two sites will be moved to St Ives Direct Bradford, which is equipped with more modern machinery including the UK's first Manroland 700 Direct Drive, a 12-colour B1 press that was relocated to Bradford following the closure of St Ives Crayford in 2009.

The reorganised St Ives Direct will offer litho, digital and personalised commercial print and fulfillment services, supported by value-added services available across the group such as direct marketing intelligence in the form of strategy, research, data planning and management, multi-media production, fulfilment and distribution, and measurement and evaluation.


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