Consultation on the proposals
The proposals for Parliament’s Northern Estate were launched in early May 2019 and published in a comprehensive Consultation Document, which was also available to download from a dedicated consultation website at northernestate.parliament.uk.
Leading up to and following the public launch, we engaged closely with MPs and Peers, their staff, House staff, statutory bodies and interested parties including Westminster City Council, the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, Historic England and other heritage bodies.
We also consulted with the local communities around the site. We held several staffed public exhibition events so that local residents and members of the public could understand and comment on the proposals.
These events were attended by the senior project team throughout and included a series of architectural models and virtual reality headsets to bring the proposals to life.
With the plans widely covered in the national media, over 26,000 people viewed the proposals for the Northern Estate either online or by attending one of the many meetings or consultation events in person.
All comments received were shared with the design team and there have been some significant changes incorporated into the final plans which have now been submitted to Westminster City Council as a series of seven planning applications.
These changes are summarised on A summary of proposals for Northern Estate of this document and then expanded upon in the sections which follow.
A full description of the consultation undertaken, feedback received and the design response is also included in the ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ which is part of the suite of planning documents submitted to Westminster City Council.
Key design changes made during consultation
A large number of design changes have been made since consultation as a direct result of our engagement with key stakeholders and the public. The main changes are:
1. Removing the temporary security pavilion from in front of Richmond House and incorporating these functions into the adjacent 85 Whitehall/54 Parliament Street.
This responds to comments that the pavilion was obstructing views of the Whitehall façade of Richmond House and concerns that it could have become a permanent building
More detail can be found at ‘Richmond House design changes through consultation’ below.
2. Amending the roofscape of Richmond House to reduce the massing of the rooftop plant enclosure, reduce the height and set back and change the materials used for the rooftop pavilion. This responds to some comments about the impact of the new building as seen from Whitehall.
More detail can at ‘2. Height and roofscape’ below.
3. Changing the design and massing of the infill building at Norman Shaw South from a stepped back form to a more distinct and separate building following design feedback. The internal circulation and layout of the building has also changed and now provides a clearer (and weather-protected) route from Portcullis House to Laundry Road.
More detail can be found on Conserving the Northern Estate.
4. Removing the glazing on the press gallery above the temporary House of Commons Chamber so that reporters and journalists can better observe proceedings.
More detail can be found on A new temporary House of Commons Chamber.
5. Changing the design of the façade of 1 Parliament Street as viewed from Canon Row and roofscape to better reflect the scale of the historic street.
More detail can be found on Conserving the Northern Estate.
6. Reducing the height of the canopy proposed along Canon Row to reduce the overall impact on neighbouring heritage buildings.
More detail can be found on Creating a better connected and accessible space.
7. More greening and green spaces within the Northern Estate, including new trees, landscaping and incorporating biodiversity to the terrace of Richmond House.
More detail can be found on Energy and environmental sustainability.
8. Reducing the additional railings proposed for Victoria Embankment, however we need to introduce additional railings and gates around the Red Lion Pub and Derby Gate.
More detail can be found on Streetscape and perimeter security.
Richmond House design changes through consultation
Three major changes have been made to the designs for Richmond House as a result of the consultation – the removal of the security pavilion, lowering the height of the roofscape and more greening of the roof spaces.
Indicative image showing the proposals as viewed from Parliament Street, with the security pavilion now removed from the plans to show the Whitehall façade.
The previous proposals showing a temporary new visitor pavilion, which is not part of the final submitted planning application.
1. Security and the removal of the temporary pavilion
Under the original design, it was proposed that entrance screening would take place within a temporary security pavilion in front of the Richmond House façade to manage the flow of visitors entering the building. This would have obstructed views of the façade and has now been entirely removed.
In place of the temporary pavilion, security screening will now be located inside the building. This will be linked to a new shop on the ground floor of 53 Parliament Street, with a café inside Richmond House.
Security screening will be delivered in the least intrusive way possible, although the central lift and stair core to 54 Parliament Street will need to be removed in order to accommodate all the necessary screening equipment. At 85 Whitehall, the structural works required will include a new opening to the façade to create a suitable entrance to Richmond House and the fire escape for 54 Parliament Street will be achieved via a new bridge link into 53 Parliament Street.
An additional railing will be introduced in front of the Whitehall façade to provide further security for the building.
Indicative image of the proposals for Richmond House as viewed from Laundry Road, showing reduced massing on the roof.
2. Height and roofscape
In consultation some concerns were expressed that the plans at roof level and height of the new elements would impact views from Whitehall.
Design changes have been made to reduce the massing of the rooftop plant enclosure. The rooftop pavilion will also be reduced in height. The fifth floor elements have been set back from Whitehall and Richmond Terrace, and to a lesser degree Derby Gate.
With the new roofscape of Richmond House set back from the façade frontage, views and sightlines from along Whitehall should remain unimpeded.
3. Greening of the roof spaces
The roof design has been evolved to include extensive planting to provide a range of habitats.
This soft and visible landscape is supplemented by bird and bat boxes in response to ecological surveys to enhance local habitat provision.
During consultation concerns were raised about the level of intervention to the Grade II* listed Richmond House building.
The approach of focusing the scale of intervention on Richmond House has been thoroughly tested, recognising that this causes substantial harm to a listed building. We have not embarked on this lightly.
Accommodating a temporary House of Commons Chamber, its associated facilities and offices for all 650 MPs and their staff within the Northern Estate, is a considerable challenge. Every option considered required significant demolition to parts of Richmond House.
The proposed designs retain all the frontages of the building visible to the public, including the Georgian Richmond Terrace and the significant 1980s frontage to Whitehall. Behind these spaces it has to be recognised that the current Richmond House is unsuitable for public access and the demand being placed upon it. The decision to list the building says “the office floors are not of special architectural or historic interest and are excluded from the listing.”
By creating a confident, contemporary building in this location which delivers the vast majority of the new spaces required, we are able to protect the existing outward face of the estate. This also conserves and enhances the other historic buildings across the wider Northern Estate, including the Grade 1 listed Norman Shaw North. We believe it represents the best overall heritage solution for the site and the only viable solution for the House of Commons.
This entire project is aimed at securing a great prize – the timely restoration and renewal of arguably the single most important listed building in the country, the Palace of Westminster.
The planning applications
Following extensive consultation and engagement with key stakeholders over several years, and a widely publicised public consultation earlier in 2019, we have now submitted a suite of seven planning applications and listed building consents (LBC) to Westminster City Council.
Due to the size and complexity of the proposals, the seven planning applications are also supported by a series of overarching documents such as Masterplan drawings and impact assessments. All the applications have been submitted at the same time so that they can be considered and assessed together.
You can view the planning application documents and leave any comments by visiting Westminster City Council’s planning portal at www.westminster.gov.uk/planning and entering the relevant reference number.
While we have endeavoured to make all the planning documents accessible to the public, clearly some of the design details are of the highest security and certain documents will be restricted to security-cleared individuals.
Restricted access versions of the planning documents will be available to view at Westminster City Hall under agreed security protocols.
The seven planning applications each have a reference number and are supported by a suite of Masterplan documents.
Explaining the development of the scheme and masterplan context in addition to the environmental statement.
These documents are all included within each of the seven planning applications.
Richmond House full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for Richmond House and the associated listed building consent.
Norman Shaw North full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for Norman Shaw North and the associated listed building consent.
Norman Shaw South full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for Norman Shaw South and the associated listed building consent.
Parliament Street buildings full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for the Parliament Street buildings and the associated listed building consent.
Estate Landscape full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for the internal landscaping within Parliament’s Northern Estate.
Public Urban Realm full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for the paving, railings and landscaping on Whitehall and Parliament Street.
Site Infrastructure full planning application and LBC
Setting out the proposals for the site wide infrastructure within Parliament’s Northern Estate.