THE Swindon Advertiser is to move from the Victoria Road building it has called home since the 1870s.

From mid-April, staff at the Adver will work from offices in Richmond House at the Edison Office Park in Dorcan.

Pete Gavan, who has been the editor since January this year, assured readers that the paper will remain committed to serving the town.

He said: “While there’s some sadness at leaving what’s been our base since the 1870s, it’s a great opportunity for a fresh start.

“We’re moving into a purpose-built office in Swindon that will be light and airy and fit for purpose for a 21st century news operation.

“It’s incredibly important for us to maintain our presence at the heart of the community we serve.”

The move raises the inevitable question of what is to happen to the Grade II listed building situated at the top of Victoria Road.

A planning application has been submitted to Swindon Borough Council by developers with the aim of using the building to house modern offices.

The proposal in the planning documents reads: “The applicant wishes to refurbish the existing office spaces to future proof the building for continued office use. The building is generally in need of refurbishment to improve the spaces for the modern commercial market.”

Residents in Old Town have spoken warmly about their fondness for the building and their desire to see it preserved.

The planning documents read: “Due to the ‘working’ nature of the expanding newspaper, the building has been extended and modified over time. Whilst there is some question as to the date of the façades, they are attractive in appearance and constitute a significant heritage asset.”

Indeed, the heritage statement, drafted by Asset Heritage Consulting, comments on the “positive contribution” the building makes to Old Town.

It states: “99 and 100 Victoria Road have been unused or underused for many years now and it is important for the town and for the listed building that they be brought back into active use.

“The proposed alterations and use are consistent with the conservation of the listed building and have been designed to minimise heritage impact and to be totally reversible.

“No harm has been identified and the considerable public benefit of bringing this key site back into active use speaks for itself.”

Chris Moore, Newsquest’s managing director of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, said: “We have had many happy years in Victoria Road and it is with a degree of sadness that we leave this grand old building. However, we are delighted to be staying in Swindon to serve the community.

“We are very excited to see staff move into an office which will serve us well for the future.”