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Group-wide efficiency project prompts press closure

Trinity Mirror has announced it is to close its press in Chester as part of a group-wide project to cut costs and improve operating efficiencies and newspaper quality.

The Chronicle Series, North Wales Weekly News Series and Buy Sell group are currently printed at the two-press Sealand Road site.

But following the downscale and subsequent closure of the site printing of the titles will move to Liverpool and Birmingham, resulting in the loss of 44 job roles at Chester.

The changes will also see the creation of 12 jobs at Liverpool, and the group says internal transfers will be offered where appropriate.

In October the printing of most of the titles will be transferred to the group’s Old Hall Street press plant in Liverpool, before the closure of the site in January 2005 when the printing of the Chester and Flintshire Chronicles will be switched to Trinity Mirror’s new Birmingham press centre.

Graham Morgan, regional operations director, said: “Following an extensive review of our printing operations in the North West, we have concluded that we can make more efficient use of our assets and resources and at the same time improve the quality of our newspapers.

“This move will provide our readers and advertisers with more colour and for the Chester Chronicle, the opportunity to benefit from our brand-new printing facility in the Midlands which offers 100 per cent colour and modern inserting facilities.

“However, this was a hard decision, not least because of the experience, professionalism and loyalty of our Sealand Road production staff. I would like to thank them all for their outstanding contribution to our business over the years.”

The closure forms part of Trinity Mirror’s group-wide manufacturing project, which has seen it consolidate all its printing operations under Rupert Middleton, director of manufacturing.

It also follows the closure of the group’s single-press site in Huddersfield in May, when printing of the Daily Examiner moved to Oldham.

  • The new £60m-plus press hall at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham is to begin operation later this year, replacing the group’s current press facilities at Colmore Circus in Birmingham and Corporation Street in Coventry, which print the Birmingham Evening Mail, Birmingham Post, Sunday Mercury, Evening Telegraph and more than 30 weekly newspapers.

    An additional £7.5m of investment is also being made in the Midlands for inserting equipment, which will give the site the ability to print the group’s national titles.

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