Cuts follow ‘pause’ in design process of £420m Brighton hospital job and public sector cuts

The UK’s largest architect, BDP, is to make up to 100 staff redundant after public sector spending cuts were compounded by a serious delay to one of its biggest contracts.
Staff at the architect are undergoing a number of separate redundancy consultations, which could see up to 15% of its 900 staff depart the practice.

The move follows a delay to the design process of the £420m redevelopment of the cin Brighton, for which BDP is the architect.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) NHS trust confirmed the design process was being ‘paused’ at least until its planning application, submitted to Brighton and Hove council last month, was approved.

BDP, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, said the consultancy process affected 10-15% of its staff - up to 100 - in its offices in Winchester and Sheffield and its London head office. In a statement it said the “streamlining” followed “the suspension of a major healthcare project and large-scale cuts in public sector work.”

A spokesperson said she was unable to say when staff will find out their fate, as a series of consultations is under way. This has been a difficult year for the practice, which has had to deal with the killing in Bristol of staff member Jo Yeates, and a £3m legal action from the education department over the Westminster Academy.

Peter Drummond, BDP chief executive, said the architect had been “buffered” by its overseas work, including project wins in Kerala, India, and Suzhou, China.

Nick Groves, service modernisation lead for the Royal Sussex redevelopment at BSUH, said the project had been paused because the strategic health authority had declined to release further funding to work up the plans in advance of the planning approval, expected in January 2012 and approval of its outline business case by the Treasury.

The news comes as architect Archial confirmed it is considering laying off 20 staff in its Scottish offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.