Public asked to give views on key topics including access and inclusion, sustainability, heritage, and jobs
People across the UK are being invited to tell the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme what they think about key aspects of the restoration of the nation’s Parliament buildings.
The Palace of Westminster is falling apart faster than it can be fixed, with maintenance and ongoing work costs doubling in just three years to more than £125m a year. Essential restoration and renewal work is needed to protect it for future generations. The work to restore and renew the Palace will create thousands of jobs and training opportunities across the UK.
As the restoration team continues its work to develop a detailed and costed restoration plan, members of the public will be able to submit ideas and share their views on a range of issues to help inform the plans which are currently under development. Their views will be taken into account alongside those of MPs, Peers, the Parliamentary community and a range of other organisations with an interest in the Palace of Westminster.
Sarah Johnson, CEO, Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body said:
“The world-famous Palace of Westminster is a national and international landmark, and the cornerstone of our democracy. As we develop the detailed and costed plan to restore and renew the Palace of Westminster we would like to involve people from across the country and give everyone the opportunity to tell us what they think about their national Parliament building.”
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg said:
“People will rightly expect the essential work needed to restore and renew the Palace of Westminster to be cost effective to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely.
“I welcome all good ideas on protecting our magnificent Houses of Parliament while addressing important issues including making the Palace more accessible for Members and visitors.”
Through a new online participation platform, people will be asked how the programme can make the restored Palace of Westminster more welcoming and accessible for Members, staff and visitors. The building does not meet all current guidelines for accessibility, with a wide range of challenges for people with mobility issues and other disabilities, including many areas of Parliament that are impossible to access step-free and without assistance.
Members of the public will also have the opportunity to tell the restoration programme what they think about the importance of the 150-year-old Palace of Westminster being a more environmentally friendly and sustainable building.
The programme will also ask people about celebrating and preserving the heritage of the Palace, including its world-famous architecture, as well as the potential for archaeological discoveries and how to highlight them.
Finally, the public will be asked about how the restoration programme could make sure the thousands of jobs and training opportunities that will be created across the UK can benefit them directly, including considering how the UK-wide supply chain recruits a diverse range of people.
People will be able to join in the conversation, starting today until 14 July by visiting the Restoration and Renewal online conversation platform. Members of the public can also share their views by post. The conversation will be centred around the four topics outlined above.
There will be more opportunities for people to share views on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster as plans are developed. The detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan, which will for the first time set out a true sense of costs and timescales, will be considered by Parliament in 2023.
The work to develop the detailed and costed plan will include more than 100 investigative surveys, with specialist teams spending thousands of hours analysing the building, including the 1100 rooms and more than 3000 windows.
The restoration and renewal team is also continuing to work with Parliament to determine all the functions the building needs to have in future, as well as look at vital improvements in areas like accessibility. With 3000 people typically working in and visiting the 150-year-old building every day, there are a huge number of requirements to consider.
Restoring the building will create thousands of jobs and training opportunities across the UK, including through an industry-leading apprentice loan scheme that will see around 160 apprentices, including engineers, designers, stonemasons, and carpenters, employed by the organisations overseeing and delivering the restoration of the Palace of Westminster and loaned to UK businesses working on the restoration.