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Consultation begins on restoration of Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

A committee charged with recommending the best way of restoring the deteriorating Palace of Westminster has called for opinions from the public.

The Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster, co-chaired by the leaders of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, issued a call for written evidence.

A report by a consortium of consultants Aecom, structures specialists HOK and financial giant Deloitte this summer said that a rolling programme of works allowing the building to remain in use could last 32 years and cost £5.7bn.

If MPs and peers moved out, an intensive period of work to repair decaying stonework, drainage problems, roof damage, corrosion and ageing electrical systems could be delivered in six years for £3.5bn, the report said.

Five options were set out in total, but whichever is chosen, a major programme of repair and conservation is intended to start during the 2020 parliament.

The Palace of Westminster is a Grade I listed building and, with Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church, forms part of a Unesco World Heritage Site. More than 1M people pass through its doors each year.

The committee said written evidence must be received by 22 January 2016. Suggested topics are:

What opportunities or benefits do you think a major restoration and renewal programme could present for Parliament and the wider public?

What changes do you think are required to the building to adapt to Parliament’s changing needs in the 21st century?

How should the heritage of the Palace of Westminster be conserved and safeguarded, while recognising that it is home to a busy working Parliament with regular public access?

What will be the major risks or challenges in delivering a programme of this scale and how should they be addressed?

Evidence can be submitted here.

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