CONSTRUCTION confusion continued today as many builders were told not to down tools despite the coronavirus lockdown.

Dozens of contractors arrived at Brighton and Hove Albion’s Lancing training ground yesterday to continue work on a £22 million extension.

Builders worked on a new wing at the training centre containing jacuzzis and sleeping pods for Albion stars.

The club has insisted contractor Buckingham Group should finish “essential works” on the site before ceasing construction.


“The position on construction sites is confusing with some contractors ceasing work and some continuing,” an Albion spokesman said.

“We are therefore treating the emergency legislation introduced by the UK Government to cease non-essential travel or carrying out non-essential works as an instruction to cease work.

“Accordingly we have advised our contractor to complete essential works, make the site safe and cease work until further notice.”

More than 30 builders were on the site yesterday, according to Buckingham Group.

One worker onsite said the situation was “bonkers”.

“The club is saying works should continue even though their website and Twitter promotes the ‘Stay at home’ message,” the contractor said.

The Government’s announcement on Monday that all “non-essential” businesses should close sparked widespread confusion in the construction industry.

But after Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick assured building work could continue if workers kept two metres apart from each other, many firms have ploughed ahead.

Yesterday residents near Brighton College complained as builders worked on a new playing field.

“It would be interesting to know if the owners of these large building companies are all at home keeping safe while sending their builders out to work,” neighbour Elaine Green said.

“I presume the owners of Brighton College are all staying at home seeing as how they closed it last week.”

The Argus: Work continued on Brighton College's new playing field yesterdayWork continued on Brighton College's new playing field yesterday

Another person living nearby said the building works were disruptive to the area’s many residents now working from home.

“This is in no way essential work,” the resident said.

Brighton College did not respond for comment when contacted by The Argus.

Meanwhile workers at repair firm Mears were called into the company’s Moulsecoomb depot yesterday despite the lockdown.

One employee said the Brighton and Hove City Council contractor “did not give a stuff” about its workers.

“Mears are not only putting money before their staff, they are putting staff and public at risk,” the trader said.

“They are sending people to work in empty properties to decorate.

“They say these properties will be used for the homeless. I feel sure the homeless would be grateful for any property whatever state it’s in.”

And GMB organiser Gary Palmer branded Mears’s response to the outbreak “infuriating”.

“There are about 20 people milling about around the depot sitting in their vans,” he said.

“They’ve got all the gear in the vans so they could easily work from home.”

“Our reps at the depot have raised this with Mears and they’ve been told to go play with the traffic in Moulsecoomb Way,” GMB Brighton secretary Mark Turner added.

Though Mears workers in Brighton have been told to go to work, the firm’s Lewes and Eastbourne councils contractors were sent home on full pay.

Mears said: “The service has been reduced to essential services only.

“We have risk assessments in place in order to carry out these works safely and operatives are being asked to continue to come to work.

“Many of our customers are vulnerable people who will need to have their housing needs addressed.”

A city council spokeswoman said Mears will continue empty property repairs.

But its repairs helpdesk is open for emergency calls only.

l The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. To donate visit