MPs, Peers, and other interested parties are invited to submit relevant information on the vital restoration and renewal of the Houses of Parliament, as part of a review into the renovation plans, closing 7 August.
image: for illustration purposes only – Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament
The programme leads write:
The Palace of Westminster, home of Parliament, is falling apart faster than it can be repaired and the longer the essential work is left, the greater the risk of a catastrophic failure from fire, flooding or falling stonework.
The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body has been set up to tackle the work needed to protect the Palace, ensuring it can continue to serve as the home of the UK Parliament in the 21st century and beyond.
The Sponsor Body sets the scope, budget and timescale for the project. It oversees a Delivery Authority, which is responsible for developing and delivering the work to the Sponsor Body’s requirements.
The project to save the Houses of Parliament for future generations is expected to support thousands of jobs and training opportunities across the country.
A review into the work is being led by Sarah Johnson, Sponsor Body CEO, and David Goldstone, Delivery Authority CEO. Their team will assess whether a recommendation made in a report four years ago that all MPs and Lords should leave the Palace of Westminster while the work was carried out is still the “best and most cost-effective” option.
The review team will examine the evidence available to those who produced the report and consider any new findings by the programme alongside information received from parliamentarians, interested organisations and the public. The Restoration and Renewal Programme is committed to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.
The review will make a series of recommendations which will be presented to the appropriate Parliamentary authorities in the autumn.
As plans develop, there will be further opportunities for the public, parliamentarians, and other interested groups to offer their views to the Restoration and Renewal Programme.
Sarah Johnson, CEO of the Sponsor Body, said:
“As we review plans for the most complex heritage restoration ever delivered in the UK, it is right that Members and other interested parties should have an opportunity to put forward views for consideration.”
“We want to ensure the plan offers best value for money and takes account of changes in external circumstances, such as the impact of the current health crisis.”
The Houses of Parliament urgently need restoring. According to the National Audit Office, Parliament has spent more than £369m on maintenance since 2016 and there is an increasing backlog of repairs estimated at over £1 billion.
All the fire, heating, drainage, mechanical and electrical systems need replacing. Steam pipes run alongside electrical cables, and the sewage ejector system installed in 1888 is still in use today. Since the start of 2017 over 40,000 problems have been reported in the Palace.
The Restoration and Renewal Programme is expected to create employment and training opportunities in construction, engineering, design, and IT, as well as attracting those with specialist skills in carpentry, stonemasonry, metalwork, and heritage conservation.
Submissions to the review of the Restoration and Renewal Programme must be received by 7 August.