Local newspaper printing plant may close

By Max Goldbart, Thursday 30 November 2017

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Newbury News is considering closing its printing plant after a brace of contract losses, placing 28 jobs at risk.

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28 jobs at risk at Faraday Road site Image: Google Maps

In a statement published on its website yesterday (29 November), the company, which owns the Newbury Weekly News and prints a number of regional titles under contract, said the Faraday Road site had entered into a 30-day consultation period after the loss of two external printing contracts.

Closure is possible although one option being explored, according to Newbury’s statement, is keeping the plant open but reducing from a two-shift to a one-shift staffing structure.

The company, a former finalist in the PrintWeek Awards Newspaper Printer of the Year category, said it was finding it “increasingly more difficult to compete with larger group-owned plants” and had lost printing contracts for the Isle of Wight County Press and the Maidenhead Advertiser. The Isle of Wight County Press was bought by Newsquest earlier this year and it will be printed by Newsquest from January, while the Maidenhead Advertiser has separately also cancelled its contract.

When contacted by PrintWeek, Newbury News confirmed the 30-day period but declined to comment further while the consultation period was ongoing.

According to its website, the Faraday Road plant runs a Goss Universal 70 web offset press, which is capable of printing up to 96 tabloid colour pages in a single pass and 48 tabloid pages in straight mode at up to 70,000cph. It also runs an Agfa pre-press setup and offers collation and insertion services.

A number of editorial redundancies could also take place at the Newbury Weekly News, although its statement said that the 150-year-old newspaper remains a “highly-viable business and will continue to be published as usual”.

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