Contractors appointment kick-starts first phase of Royal Pavilion Estate development

16 Jan 2017

Britain's oldest and most established building company, R. Durtnell and Sons Limited, have been appointed by Brighton & Hove City Council as contractors to start works on transforming the Grade 1 listed Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Grade 2 listed Studio Theatre - the first phase of our joint development plans for reconnecting and revitalising the Royal Pavilion Estate.

R. Durtnell & Sons Ltd was founded in 1591 and is the UK’s oldest construction company having grown organically by successive generations of the Durtnell family. They have a proven track record in delivering a number of high-profile heritage restorations and cultural projects including Dulwich Picture Gallery, Turner Contemporary in Margate, and the music room at Brighton College. The firm is based in Westerham, Kent.

The contractors will start work on-site at the end of January 2017 on the major refurbishment of Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre alongside essential conservation work. The transformation of the Corn Exchange, formerly the Prince Regent’s Riding house, will reveal and restore stunning and previously hidden heritage features as well as providing extra increased capacity seating and an impressive new viewing gallery. Major improvements to the Studio Theatre, once a stables and supper room, will include balcony seating, new bar facilities a new artists' creation space and a café opening out onto street level.

Brighton Dome Concert Hall will remain open throughout the redevelopment period.

This work will be the starting point for an ambitious culture and heritage-led project for the whole of the Royal Pavilion Estate and its surrounding areas which is being developed in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council and the Royal Pavilion and Museums. The project will be delivered in three phases and will reinvigorate and reconnect the buildings and landscape of the world class historic Royal Pavilion Estate and improve the centrepiece of Brighton & Hove’s cultural quarter

With 16.3m of the £21m phase one project costs now secured, including major contributions from Arts Council England (ACE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and commitments from a number of charitable trusts and individual donors, there is a strong foundation of support for the project. Fundraising will continue throughout the build which will include ways to support the project digitally, a seat appeal and event activity.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival BDM said:
“We are delighted such an established family-owned business have been appointed as the contractor to begin works on the restoration and transformation of our historic Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre. As well as safeguarding this importance heritage for the future, the works will encourage new audiences, support artist development and transform visitors’ experience of the venues. It will deliver improvements in accessibility, facilities and infrastructure, and will benefit local residents, community groups, schools, artists, tourists, the regional digital community and local businesses amongst others.”

Warren Morgan, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council leader said:
“This is the start of another ambitious project the council and partners have worked hard to bring to fruition. The Royal Pavilion Estate attracts over 1.2 million people a year and the venues make a significant economic contribution to Brighton & Hove. The buildings are magnificent but they are facing unique challenges and are in need of refurbishment and upgrade. We are very relieved and proud to have found a viable way forward to restore and safeguard these treasured buildings for years to come and look forward to seeing phase one of the project brought to life by the newly appointed construction team.”

Find out more about how our development plans are progressing and how you can support us build for our future