Contractor working on Corn Exchange refurbishment goes bust

Brighton Dome
Brighton Dome

Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed the company working on the revamp of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange has ceased trading.

R. Durtnell & Sons Limited were appointed as contractors in January 2017 and work commenced in February 2017.

But the council said yesterday (July 2) that it had taken back the site after R Durtnell & Sons Ltd ceased trading.

The council said it was committed to finishing the project, and this was echoed by Brighton Dome boss Andrew Comben, who said the refurbishment will be completed as soon as the council finds a solution.

Read more: PICTURES: Refurbishment underway at the Corn Exchange
Corn Exchange stripped back as heritage features revealed
Mr Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, said: “This is extremely disappointing news but we are confident that by working together with Brighton and Hove City Council we will find a solution to complete the refurbishment as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"We are grateful to the council, our funders, stakeholders and the public for their continued support and belief in the importance of this project.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesperson said: "Over the coming days we’ll be exploring practical options for continuing and completing these essential restoration works as soon as possible and taking forward the wider Royal Pavilion Estate project."

What is the Royal Pavilion Estate project?

The Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre refurbishment is the first phase of a wider project to re-affirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate as a key cultural destination by equipping it for a sustainable future.

The longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic Estate created by George IV in the early 19th century to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts which reflects the unique spirit of Brighton.

It is anticipated that the revitalised Royal Pavilion Estate will support 1,241 jobs and have an economic impact of up to £68m.

What works are taking place?

Work is underway to transform the Grade 1 listed Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, formerly the Prince Regent’s Riding House, which has the widest span timber frame roof in the country, and the Grade 2 listed Studio Theatre. The project will restore previously hidden heritage features as well as provide increased capacity seating, a new viewing gallery and a creative space for artists to rehearse and develop work. Major improvements to the Studio Theatre - once a supper room - will include balcony seating, new bar facilities and a street level café opening out onto New Road.

Since construction work began in February 2017, the project has experienced several unforeseen issues on the historic site. A Quaker burial ground was uncovered in August 2017, with human remains excavated by a team of archaeologists and structural issues have been discovered with the Corn Exchange’s 200-year old wooden frame and roof trusses.

The £22million project includes funding from Arts Council England (£5.8m), National Lottery Heritage Fund (£4.9m), as well as significant commitments from Coast to Capital and Brighton & Hove City Council.

Major support from private contributions includes a number of charitable trusts and foundations and individual donors.

The Build Brighton Dome community appeal has secured over £130,000 so far and each pound is match funded by The Roddick Foundation.