MPs and peers will move into temporary accommodation ‘around 2025’, committee hears
BDP’s refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster will not end up being a bottomless money pit, MPs and peers were assured yesterday.
Parliamentarians will be in temporary accommodation during the restoration project for up to seven years once the work gets under way around 2025.
Giving evidence to the Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee, Liz Peace, chair of the shadow sponsor board of the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, said the multi-billion-pound job would not turn into a “money feast”.
She added the shadow sponsor board was “very clear on how long it will take and its cost”.
Peace said the project would start “by the mid-2020s and last between six and seven years”.
Plans are underway to relocate peers to the nearby QEII centre while MPs will move into Richmond House once it has been reconfigured by AHMM.
This is proving controversial with architectural heritage campaigners who object to the destruction of all but the facade of the 1987 former Department of Health. Michael Hopkins and Save Britain’s Heritage published an alternative proposal for the temporary adaptation of Portcullis House.
Peace admitted any public inquiry into proposals to demolish part of Richmond House could delay the renovation programme.
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Richmond House is part of the high-profile £650m contract to upgrade a number of buildings set to contain MPs’ offices in Westminster known as the Northern Estate Programme. BDP is the lead architect on the Northern Estate programme as well as the Palace of Westminster.
The Northern Estate scheme includes the grade-I listed Norman Shaw North and grade-II listed Norman Shaw South buildings – both over 100 years old – and 1 Derby Gate and 1 Parliament Street – two grade II-listed buildings from the 1880s. Together around 15,300sq m of office space will be refurbished.
Most of the buildings have not been refurbished in more than 40 years and so essential works are now needed to improve fire safety, building performance and M&E services.
The draft bill to establish the statutory bodies responsible for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster was published in October last year.
The select committee is expected to hold two or three more public hearings and finish its deliberations on March 28, then publish a report which may suggest changes to the draft legislation. The government will then bring forward a formal bill for Parliamentary approval.