A27 works yet to officially resume after contractor for New Monks Farm development ceases trading - 'Assessing the quickest and most efficient way to move forward'

Health and safety works have taken place on the the A27 Lancing Manor Farm development – but the project remains paused after hitting a significant roadblock.

Buckingham Group Contracting – the contractor tasked with completing the A27 project – officially went into administration in September, leaving 446 employees without a job.

This came two weeks after the company filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators – with then forced National Highways to pause the development on land sold by Brighton and Hove Albion.

Photos taken on Thursday (October 19) seemed to show works resuming on A27 Shoreham Road, with diggers in operation. The project has not yet restarted though, it has been confirmed.

A National Highways spokesperson said: "Following the announcement that Buckingham Group Contracting Limited have entered into administration permanent works on the A27 New Monks Farm roundabout have temporarily halted.

"The priority for The Community Stadium Ltd has been to secure services in the short term to ensure the safety of the public and to undertake small elements of work to reduce congestion around Coombs Road for the local community.

“We are now assessing the quickest and most efficient way to move forward with the project looking at all options to deliver the remainder of the works in the most efficient and timely manner and will provide further information in the near future on how the works will be completed."

The Community Stadium Ltd has appointed Octavious Infrastructures Ltd – as the principle contractor – to ‘maintain the site, traffic management, security and health and safety’.

A spokesperson added: “There are a couple of areas of the works that are health and safety critical that we must complete, and Octavious are carrying out these works on our behalf.”

National Highways said in August that it was working with the developer ‘to find a solution to complete the works’. A statement on the UK Government agency’s website on August 22 read: “The project to build a new roundabout on the A27 to provide better, safer access to Brighton City Airport and the New Monks Farm development is currently paused.”

The company previously stated the next phase of work would see all westbound traffic rerouted onto the new A27 westbound carriageway around the roundabout, with ‘improvement works starting on the westbound and eastbound carriageways’.

National Highways said work – which was expected to last until November – would be carried out in stages ‘to keep traffic moving and disruption to a minimum’.

Members of Grant Thornton UK LLP were appointed as joint administrators of Buckingham Group Contracting Limited – which has operations ‘throughout the UK’. This ‘safeguarded jobs’ for 180 people.

A statement on Buckingham’s website reads: “Following recent significant cashflow pressures and subsequent losses incurred by the business, the directors and its advisors have been working hard to deliver a successful refinancing and secure the future of the business.

"However, the legacy issues faced by the company and ongoing losses were simply too great to enable the refinance to succeed in an acceptable timescale.”

The joint administrators intended to ‘continue to operate’ part of the company's head office function ‘for a short period’ – in ‘support of the purchaser’.

Joe Incutti, group managing director at Kier Transportation, said: "The Buckingham Group Contracting rail business had built a very strong reputation for assured delivery in the rail sector. I am pleased that we now welcome 180 new colleagues into Kier Transportation.

"The team will further strengthen our capability, and this helps to bring an end to a period of uncertainty for clients and employees by ensuring continued delivery on existing projects, and the retention of hugely important skills and expertise in the rail sector.”

‘Despite the best efforts’ of the directors and the company's advisers, a sale of the company's remaining divisions – building, civil engineering, demolition, major projects and sport & leisure ‘was not possible’.

Rob Parker, director at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “As a result, 446 employees from these divisions together with some other central roles at the company have been made redundant following the company entering administration. The Grant Thornton team will work with the employees affected to support them through this process.”Mike Kempley, chairman at Buckingham Group Contracting said: “After 36 years of uninterrupted trading, this is an extremely sad day for all the exceptionally committed and talented people who have made Buckingham Group Contracting the business it is.

"In moving to Kier, we are sure our Rail & HS2 teams are in good hands and will continue to deliver an excellent service, and many other businesses are now engaging with the remaining 500 or so Buckingham employees.”