A £12.5m investment by Archant will see more than 70 of the group’s newspapers and magazines published from one centre from early summer, it has been revealed.
An upgrade at the group’s Thorpe Print Centre, near Norwich, will provide a 50 per cent increase in printing capacity and the ability to produce two publications – of up to 96 pages in full colour – at the same time.
Among the titles to benefit will be the Eastern Daily Press and the East Anglian Daily Times, which are currently printed side-by-side on the two existing presses overnight, every night, except Saturdays.
Using the current presses, if the main paper goes over 64 pages then the colour availability drops from 64 pages down to 32, but with the new printing capability they will be both be able to go up to 96 pages of colour at the same time.
Other regional titles such as the Comet, Herts Advertiser and The News from Hertfordshire, Fenland Post from Anglia and Dagenham Post, East London Advertiser, Hackney Gazette and The Islington Gazette from London will also benefit from the upgrade.
Two new printing towers are being installed, plus folder and mail room equipment, and the exisiting four towers are being refurbished.
Project director Peter Dodds said the investment had been prompted by an insatiable demand from editors and advertisers for colour and an ever-increasing number of supplements and pull-outs.
He said: “The ability to bring in-house Archant newspapers printed elsewhere with the consequent increase in long-term security and improved quality control are the key business drivers as are efficiency and cost related benefits.”
An additional 14 jobs have been created by the print expansion and Thorpe’s three shifts have each increased in numbers from 28 to 36.
All the new publications will be on board by June when a formal opening ceremony is planned.