South East contractor on brink of administration

A £64m-turnover contractor based in East Sussex has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Catsfield-based Westridge Construction Ltd made the move on Tuesday (12 September) and retained Cripps Pemberton Greenish as legal counsel.

Construction News approached Westridge Construction for comment yesterday afternoon (12 September), but received an automated message that “our offices are now closed”.

In its most recent set of accounts, covering the year to 28 February 2022, Westridge posted turnover of £64.2m. This was a 7 per cent increase on the previous year’s revenue of £59.9m, but pre-tax profit fell from £1.84m to £853,400.

Company director David Oliver attributed this drop – which the firm experienced even before the wave of inflationary pressures and other negative economic impacts from the Russian invasion of Ukraine – to “challenging trading conditions” with “significant cost increases, together with a rise in supply-chain failures”.

Established in 1990, the firm boasted an extensive portfolio of small-scale (up to £15m) projects for clients in South East England across the commercial, residential, industrial, education and healthcare sectors.

Its client base includes 27 housing associations, 16 borough councils and two NHS trusts (Brighton and East Sussex). Westridge has also conducted jobs at 19 schools, according to its website.

It employed a monthly average of 214 staff in 2021/22.

Ongoing projects include preconstruction design works for a new indoor crazy golf facility and restaurant on the Hastings seafront; a 55-bed care home for Barchester Healthcare in Seaford; and a corporate office building for energy provider SGN in Horley.

Westridge also won a place in January this year on a £1bn Pagabo framework.

Brighton & Hove City Council chose Westridge in 2019 as its preferred interim contractor for redevelopment work on the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre (pictured) in 2019. The project was due to enter its final stage earlier this year, but the council did not respond to a request for further information.

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