Willmott Dixon adds another cultural landmark to its pipeline


Willmott Dixon will deliver a major upgrade to a popular cultural attraction in Southend-on-Sea.

Credit: Willmott Dixon

The firm has been selected by Southend Council as its construction partner for a proposed overhaul of the Cliffs Pavilion performing arts theatre.

As part of a pre-construction agreement, Willmott will carry out design development and a health and safety plan, as well as a construction methodology and programme planning, including phasing. They will then agree on a full contract, subject to planning approval, an agreed cost plan and works programme that will enable the Cliffs Pavilion to stay open for performances throughout the works.

More than £8 million will fund an expansion of the restaurant, a new entrance and lobby, improved ventilation, and a new outdoor piazza. Other improvements to the bars, toilets and lifts will also be made.

£5.5 million of the project cost will come from Levelling Up funding. It is hoped the works will secure Cliffs Pavilion Theatre’s place as one of the top ten regional theatres in the country.

A planning application will be submitted this month.

Works are expected to start in January 2024. Cliffs Pavilion Theatre is operated by Trafalgar Theatres (for Trafalgar Entertainment). Similar projects by Willmott include The Globe in Stockton, the east wing of Alexandra Palace, The Box in Plymouth, Darlington Railway Museum, and Bristol Beacon.

It is currently on site in Walthamstow transforming the EMD Cinema into an entertainment venue run by Soho Theatre.

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