Carrying out restoration work on the Houses of Parliament without moving any MPs or peers could cost up to £5.7bn and would take a staggering 32 years to complete, according to a report.
However, if MPs and peers were to leave the premises during restoration, the cost could be cut dramatically to £3.5bn, the Independent Options Appraisal report states.
The Houses of Parliament is 150 years old and is a Grade 1 listed building. A 2012 report on the building revealed that it is sinking, is full of asbestos and has out of date cabling. The report states that without substantial restoration work, the Houses could suffer, ‘major, irreversible damage.’
In the upcoming years, both the Commons and Lords will vote on what renovation route they will take.
If it were decided that the £3.5bn option is to be taken, the Houses of Parliament would receive some new features, such as a lift for the Elizabeth Tower, a new media centre for television interviews and informal meeting rooms for those working within the Palace of Westminster.
For a slightly increased price of £3.9bn, the full-move out of all MPs and peers would allow for a new visitor centre, with exhibition and conference facilities.
It is estimated that this will take a period of between 9 and 14 years.
The report states that it does not advise members which option to choose, but a full move out is described as, ‘providing the best opportunity to mitigate risks, but the report recognises this would create logistical challenges.’
There are a number of alternative temporary homes for ministers if they choose to vacate the Houses of Parliament while restoration work is taking place. These include:
- Queen Elizabeth 2nd Conference Centre
This Westminster venue is said to be the most likely temporary home, as it is only two minutes away from Big Ben.
- Olympic Park media centre
Offering 1.2m sq ft of commercial space, this seems an ideal spot in the Olympic Park located in Stratford.
Restoring Houses of Parliament could cost £5.7bn
Unsurprisingly the favourite choice for a number of some West Midlands MPs, this award-winning library was voted the top new building in the UK according to a 2014 BBC poll.
This building has already been used as a double for Parliament in films and there is no doubt that this grade-one listed building looks superb.
Restoration programme director Richard Ware said the members were faced with some tough decisions. Ware commented, ‘it is clear from this report that Parliament is faced with some difficult choices. The Palace of Westminster is a building of huge national and international importance and we face a massive challenge in securing its future.’
‘Parliament will now consider the recommendations of the Independent Options Appraisal and will do everything possible to secure value for money and ensure transparency throughout the process.’