Journalists at a weekly newspaper series have moved out of town, with their offices set to be turned into a Tesco store.
Their three-storey offices in Eastworth Road in Chertsey, which were rented by the Trinity Mirror titles, are set to be turned into a Tesco Express store and 14 flats.
A planning application by building owner London Property Investment Ltd was approved in February for the development, which would see a Tesco store created on the ground floor and the first and second floors turned into 14 flats.
Marnie Wilson, editorial director Trinity Mirror Southern, said: “Although the office will now be in Guildford our reporters, as you would expect, will spend most of their time working in the field doing what they do best: reporting on local issues and connecting with the local communities.
“We are supplying pool cars for their use and through regular surgeries we will actually increase the interaction with locals across the patch.”
The decision by Runnymede borough council to approve the development came despite a number of councillors raising concerns about traffic and parking.
In a report about the planning approval, Marnie said the paper would continue to cover “all the local news”.
She said: “Our lease is up so we will be moving out some time this year. There’s no question that we will be continuing to provide all the local news from the area”.
However the move has been criticised on a local community comment forum by a user claiming to be a former journalist at the titles, who wrote that he was “saddened and bitterly disappointed” by the move.
He wrote: “I am sure the Herald management will do their very best to make sure that coverage of the area is maintained.
“But when you lose that physical presence and indefinable personal contact that an office, however small, provides, it can only mean a dilution of the vital relationship between newspaper and readers and leave an unfillable gap in the community.”