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Bucks Free Press moves to pastures new

The Bucks Free Press has left its home of 49 years and relocated to purpose-built offices in High Wycombe.

More than 100 staff have made the move from Gomm Road to new three-story offices in Station Road, Loudwater.

The new office complex is also home to the Midweek, Hillingdon Times, Ealing Times and the South Bucks Star newspapers.

Vic Catanach, publisher of the newspaper group, said the move was a boost for staff morale.

He said: “The old site had got to the stage where without massive investment we would’ve struggled to stay there.”

The building had a projected life span of 50 years and time was almost up. Staff experienced poor heating control, blocked drains and a leaking roof over the last few years and are in positive mood about the move.

Reporter Julian Howson said: “It shows we are moving forward and we are modernising. I think it will give everyone a lift.”

But the relocation has added poignancy for long-serving newspaper sales manager Dennis Oliver, who has been with the Bucks Free Press for 46 years.

He said: “It is almost as if I have returned home. From my desk I can see the house in which my grandparents brought up their nine children. At one time, my mother would have lived in a house within the bounds of our car park.”

The move is be the fourth in the Free Press’ 149 year history.

William Butler, a chemist, bookseller, stationer and publisher, set up The South Bucks Free Press and the Weekly General Advertiser in December 1856, in Church Street, High Wycombe.

The railway had recently joined High Wycombe to the Maidenhead branch line, defining a new district which Butler believed needed a new paper.

The first major move happened under William’s son Thomas, who had succeeded his father as editor, when the paper went to Castle Street.

The old eight-acre site in Gomm Road has been sold to a property developer and the Free Press building, which has been there since 1956, will be demolished to make way for new homes owned by Wycombe District Council.