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Johnston Press ‘to save £1m’ as flagship titles move

Publisher Johnston Press is moving three of its flagship titles to new premises in a move that a rival paper claims will save £1m a year.

The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday will move from their current base at Barclay House in the Scottish capital to a new HQ on Queensferry Road this summer.

JP has confirmed that a 15-year lease has been signed on the new offices at Orchard Brae House after a “comprehensive search” for more “appropriately-sized” premises.

A report in the Newsquest-owned rival the Sunday Herald claims the move will save the company £1m a year, although JP has not commented on this.

According to the Herald, the cost of the rental bill at Orchard Brae House will be around £555,000 a year.

It says this is around a third of the annual £1.5m bill which the company paid for its current premises at Barclay House, which has housed the three titles since 1999.

Barclay House, on Holyrood Road, was also formerly the registered address for JP and the corporate base for most of its senior executives.

However the executive team headed by chief executive Ashley Highfield is now based in central London.

Stuart Birkett, managing director of JP Scotland said:  “We’ve carried out an exhaustive search for great premises which perfectly suit our needs and are very happy to be moving to Orchard Brae House, which has recently been fitted out to an incredibly high standard.

“We are about to start on work on the fixtures and fittings in order to provide our staff with a high-quality working environment and look forward to completing the move in the summer.

“There may be a short period of transition when some of our team are based in a temporary office or, where it’s feasible, work remotely but we hope to keep disruption to a minimum and guarantee there will be no change to the publication of our newspapers or to the service we offer our readers and business customers.”

“Barclay House has served us very well over the years but our needs have changed and for a long time it has been far too large and not cost-effective, so it’s time to call an end to this chapter of the building’s story.”

The move is part of plans by JP to realign its property portfolio to ensure offices are “fit for purpose.”

Built in the 1970s, Orchard Brae House was recently refurbished and has been owned by London commercial property investors Delancey since February 2011.

Its website says the site offers “virtually column-free floor space with the upper floors delivering stunning panoramic views across the city”.

Johnston Press will occupy around 30,000 square feet of office space on the top two floors of the building.