Britain’s oldest builder replaced on £28m Brighton Dome redevelopment

18 October 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Brighton Dome Corn Exchange interior

Brighton & Hove City Council has chosen Westridge Construction as its preferred interim contractor to continue re-development work on Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre.

The appointment followed a halt to works on the site after Kent-based R Durtnell & Sons, reputed to be Britain’s oldest builder, hit financial trouble.

The council announced in July that Durtnell, founded in 1591, had ceased to trade but in August it emerged that its creditors had handed it a lifeline by agreeing to support a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), giving it more time to pay off its debts.

Westridge, which has offices in Kent, Sussex and Surrey and employs around 190 people, will undertake essential weatherproofing and drainage works to protect and conserve the Grade I- and Grade II-listed buildings, a former riding house and supper room built by the Prince Regent in the early 19th century. The project value is around £28m.

The firm also recently completed projects include Hove Town Hall’s refurbishment and Hannington Lane in Brighton city centre.

Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: “We are grateful to Brighton & Hove City Council for their commitment and swift action on procuring an interim contractor. Westridge have an impressive track record of working on heritage building projects such as Ditchling Museum and Battle Abbey. We are delighted they are a local company and together with project architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, we look forward to collaborating with their team on progressing the project.”  

Martin Buckthorpe, managing director, Westridge Construction said: “It is a pleasure to have been chosen as the preferred contractor to continue works on this prestigious building, reinforcing our positive ongoing relationship with Brighton & Hove City Council. Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre project retains Westridge’s presence in the city centre, following the successful completion of the Hannington Lane development earlier this year. Brighton’s historic landmarks play a key role in the local community and we are honoured to be playing our part in their on-going restoration.”

Leave a comment