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Jobs at risk as Midlands print plant faces closure

A Midlands daily is set to become the latest regional title to be printed outside its patch with 90 jobs under threat from plans to axe its print room .

Harmsworth Printing, a sister company of Northcliffe Media, has entered into a 30-day consultation over the future of its plant in Stoke-on-Trent.

It means Stoke-based daily The Sentinel will now be printed outside the city, possibly on Trinity Mirror’s presses in Birmingham or Oldham.

Until now The Sentinel has been one of the few remaining Northcliffe titles to be printed in the city it serves following the closures of the company’s plants in Grimsby, Bristol, Leicester, Plymouth and Derby over recent years.

As well as The Sentinel, the print plant in Media Way, Etruria, in was responsible for printing Northern editions of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

The Sentinel’s editorial and advertising departments, which are also based at the same site, are not affected.

Harmsworth Printing managing director John Bird said: “Harmsworth Printing Ltd continues to be under great pressure as a result of the reducing requirements for printed copies of The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and the DMGT Group’s regional titles.

“Unfortunately, this has necessitated a further review of our operations and, in particular, of our press utilisation.”

The move will leave HPL with just two remaining print plants at Didcot in Oxfordshire and Surrey Quays in East London.

The Surrey Quays plant is also set to be closed in the next few years and replaced by a new print complex at Thurrock in Essex.

In 2008, the company closed its Grimsby plant closed with the loss of 60 jobs and its Bristol plant with the loss of 88 jobs.

The following year saw 66 jobs go as the Leicester print operation axed while 90 jobs were lost in 2010 when the Plymouth operation closed down.

Finally in January 2012 the presses in Derby fell silent for the last time with 40 jobs lost.

By then, printing of the Derby Telegraph and its stablemate the Nottingham Post had already been switched to Trinity’s presses at Erdington Lane, Birmingham.