Up to six editorial jobs could be at risk within Johnston Press's North East England publishing operation, if proposals by the publisher to create a single business unit go ahead. In a note to staff managing director of Johnston Press's north east publishing unit Stuart Birkett said the company had carried out "a detailed review of office accommodation in the North East, and the requirement to ensure that the business needs continue to be met". As a result the company is proposing the establishment of "a single business unit centred on the head office of Northeast Press Limited in Sunderland, where it is proposed to relocate South Shields and Hartlepool editorial and advertising staff". Offices at South Shields, Hartlepool, Sunderland City centre, Berwick, Kelso and Selkirk will be closed, the note says, with "customer facing offices with hot-desk facilities" opened up at all locations but Kelso. "Berwick and Selkirk editorial and advertising staff will continue to be based locally," the note adds. If the proposals are put into action the company predicts a cut in staff of six editorial roles and nine advertising positions. Birkett added: "It is hoped that this can be achieved through voluntary redundancy and transfer to alternative positions." But he said that "should sufficient volunteers not be achieved, the company can not rule out the use of compulsory redundancies." "Prior to any implementation, we will consult with affected staff and their representatives during the consultation process we will explain the business rationale, answer any questions and address any other issues that may arise." A consultation will now run until 17 May. The proposals follows a number of changes at Johnston Press announced already this year, including the move from daily to weekly publication for newspapers in Scarborough, Peterborough, Halifax and Northamptonshire. Earlier this month the publisher also announced an overhaul of its editorial structure with nearly 20 papers affected.