Journalists at a daily-turned-weekly have been told their office is to close next Friday meaning they will be temporarily based at a sister title 15 miles away.
Staff at the Northamptonshire Telegraph were told verbally of the closure of its base in Kettering yesterday morning.
The paper’s lease on its Rothwell Road HQ is due to expire next year, but Johnston Press has moved staff out early for “urgent repairs”.
While no announcement on alternative premises was made to Telegraph journalists yesterday, JP has told HTFP they will now work from home or at the offices of sister title the Northampton Chronicle & Echo until a new office in Kettering is found.
The move also affects staff at the Harborough Mail, who themselves were moved to Kettering after JP closed their office in March 2014.
Around 20 people, including approximately 15 editorial staff, are thought to be affected by the announcement.
One staff member, who did not want to be named, said: “We knew that a move was on the cards next year when the lease is up in 2017 as the office has become too large for our needs but we were told that the company would seek new accommodation in the town in advance. This has not happened.
“We have no alternative offices and have not been told where we will be working from now on. Many staff are on holiday and some who have worked here for several decades will not be able to come back again as they are not back from their holidays in time.
“The company wants the offices back to remodel them before returning them to the landlord. Apparently they have to be returned to their original state. Given the office opened in 1997, JP bosses have obviously realised this will take longer than they originally thought and are kicking us out within a week.”
The Telegraph has been based in Kettering since the 1890s. The Rothwell Road site also currently houses bound volumes of the Telegraph and the Mail dating back 120 years, but no plans have been announced for where they will be held in future.
The staff member added: “Five years ago this was a proud evening newspaper with offices in Rushden, Wellingborough, Corby and Kettering. Staff stayed loyal when the paper was made weekly, when we saw dozens of colleagues made redundant, when our district offices closed and when our photographic team was disbanded.
“Everyone is hoping that the company will find us new offices in Kettering but, given it appears there has been absolutely no-one looking for new accommodation for us, it seems unlikely that this will happen at any time in the coming months.”
A JP spokeswoman said: “The office in Kettering is closing in order to under take some urgent repairs but the Northants Telegraph is certainly not moving out of the town.
“The lease on the current building doesn’t have long left and it’s likely the team will eventually move – but there will an office in Kettering.”