10 February 2019 Print Companies

Grange threatened as Walstead shakes up sheetfed operations

Staff at Grange Press are in consultation after company owner Walstead declares intention to bring all sheetfed work into Walstead Roche.

Walstead Group is preparing to close Wyndham Grange, its sheetfed magazine plant at Southwick near Brighton. Work can be accommodated at the Roche plant, says group operations director Roy Kingston.

A 30-day consultation period has started with the 59 staff at the plant which prints general commercial work as well as magazines. The move comes weeks after the company dropped the Wyndeham name from its UK operations in order to better align them with the expanding Continental European businesses.

Grange Press was the first company in the Wyndeham Group that was built up under Bryan Bedson. It became a prominent player in sheetfed magazine printing during its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. The company installed Komori presses, including a UV machine for covers and the SP40 specialist perfecting press supported by perfect binding.

The company was split across three buildings close to the seafront and factory layout and efficiencies suffered. In recent years as the market has shifted, Grange has reported losses “and with pricing likely to have a further detrimental effect in 2019”, says the company. “Consumable prices and commercial property rents have made the future trading position worse.”

Kingston says that customers have been kept informed “and have reacted positively”. The Roche plant has two sheetfed presses alongside its web printing capacity. These included a long perfecting Roland 700 that St Ives moved from its Crayford site before selling its magazine division to Walstead.

“There is no need to move any equipment, although Roche has significant space to expand if necessary,” Kingston adds. The Cornish site has adequate folding and finishing capacity including handwork and mailing to cope with an influx of work from Sussex without increasing capacity or the overheads, says Kingston.

Before then the consultation period during which employees can propose alternative measures to make the plant viable, has to be completed. “I cannot comment further as obviously the company position is that the site needs to close” Kingston explains.

By Gareth Ward

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Down to Roche

Down to Roche

The Walstead Roche plant has a newer production platform than Grange, including a long perfecting Roland 700. The site will be able to accommodate additional work without increasing the overhead says Roy Kingston.

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