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Weekly newspaper office proposed for closure

A publisher has announced plans to close a weekly newspaper office and move its journalists to a base in a neighbouring town.

Johnston Press is proposing to close the Lancaster Guardian’s office and move editorial staff to work at the base of the Morecambe Visitor, five miles away.

It says the move has been put forward because of a ‘significant reduction in footfall’ for its front counter and is proposing to cut two receptionist roles and a cleaner.

The proposals come as the Guardian prepares to switch to a tabloid size on 19 May after 174 years as a broadsheet.

Plans to close the Lancaster office were announced to staff last Wednesday by Darren Russell, managing director of Lancaster and Morecambe Newspapers Ltd, who said there would be extensive consultation.

The announcement said: “Following a detailed review of activity at the front counter, showing the significant reduction in footfall through the front counter, it is proposed to close this branch office.

“As a result of this proposal there would be a reduction of two front counter roles, one cleaner and the relocation of the editorial team to Morecambe.

“Prior to any implementation, we will consult extensively. During this consultation process we will explain the procedure, consider all alternatives, examine ways of mitigating the effects of this proposal, determine redundancy terms and address any other issues that may arise.

“We anticipate that this consultation process will be complete by end May 2011.

“In the event this proposal goes ahead, the company will endeavour to minimise the impact of the proposal through re-deployment into alternative positions within the company and the group.”


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  • May 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Disgraceful. And I don’t believe a word about ‘footfall’. This office is in a prime location and will bring in a fat rental for the rapacious, short-sighted and ignorant minds that manage large newspaper groups and seem to take delight in screwing over local newspapers. Why else plonk the reporting team five miles away in a town that has little in common, save a shared council, with the city of Lancaster? Johnstons could at least let the reporters work from home, sparing them the ordeal of the trudge to and from Morecambe in traffic which is never less than horrendous. For a city like Lancaster not to have local journalists working on the patch is appalling. A sad day indeed, and let’s hope the ‘consultation process’ involves the whole community, not just a couple of rubber-stamping suits.

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  • May 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    That office has been dead for years, it only used to get a handful of people in when i worked there donkeys years ago. As for the Morecambe site being 5 miles away, thats stretching it a bit, its more like 2 or 3 at the most. I had to move offices that are 18 miles away from where i was based so quit moaning.

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  • May 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Ad Rep – it’s all about you, isn’t it. Journalism doesn’t even enter your greedy mind. They’re called NEWSpapers for a reason, and reporters need to have a local base. It’s as much about community involvement as coverage. Ad reps wait for ads to fall from the sky, reporters have to dig out the news and work hard at making contacts.

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