An independent sponsor body will be set up to deliver restoration and renewal works at the Palace of Westminster.
Under the terms of the Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill, a sponsor body will be in charge of creating a delivery authority to complete the works. It will also be responsible for ensuring the project remains on time and within its £3.5bn budget.
MP Andrea Leadsom – who brought the bill before the Commons on Wednesday – added that the recent fire at Notre-Dame “highlighted the urgency of the works to restore and renew the Palace of Westminster”.
“The recent incidents in the Palace of Westminster, including falling masonry, have further highlighted the urgency of the works to restore and renew the Palace of Westminster. The tragic fire at Notre Dame has also served as a reminder of the risks to this historic and iconic building,” she said.
“The Government is clear that there can be no blank cheque for this work and it must represent good value for taxpayers’ money, and that the Programme needs to be delivered on time and on budget.”
The bill adds: “Maintaining control over the costs of even the most basic aspects of Restoration and Renewal will be no easy task for the Sponsor Body.”
The Palace of Westminster is set for a £3.5bn restoration of ageing systems as well as repairs to stonework. The programme is set to begin in the mid-2020s and will see the House of Lords and House of Commons vacate the building for an estimated period of six to eight years.
The Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill was introduced to Commons yesterday, after MPs previously voted for a “full decant” following fire and flood warnings.
Detailed plans have now been unveiled to redevelop the former home of the Department of Health in Whitehall into a temporary House of Commons, with an overall budget for the project ranging from £1.4bn to £1.6bn.
Chair of the committee established to scrutinise the bill, Dame Caroline Spelman, backed plans for an independent body to oversee the work.
“I am pleased the Government has accepted many of the Committee’s recommendations including requirements for the Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body to ensure health and safety on the estate and for it to engage fully with staff and the public on the programme,” Spelman said.
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