Summary of Benefits
The Northern Estate Programme is one of the most important development projects ever undertaken by Parliament and it will create a lasting long-term legacy across the entire site.
The plans have therefore been designed from the outset to deliver the maximum possible public benefit, not just while the temporary House of Commons Chamber is in operation but long into the future.
Once the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster is complete, the new facilities provided within the Northern Estate will also enable Parliament to consolidate its use of existing buildings and reduce running costs.
Enabling the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster
The proposals for the Northern Estate are the essential first step to enable the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, arguably the single most important listed building in the country. It will be protected and modernised for future generations.
Ensuring the continued functioning of British democracy
The temporary House of Commons Chamber together with its associated facilities will ensure the continued running of Government and Parliament for what is expected to be a period of several years while the works to the Palace of Westminster take place.
Sustainable and efficient buildings
The plans will allow for a more effective and efficient running of Parliament with reduced running costs and more sustainable buildings. From an energy and carbon perspective, the works will deliver significant improvement in efficiency and include a new site-wide energy centre.
Transforming access for people with disabilities
A priority of the Restoration and Renewal Programme will be to bring the Palace up to the modern accessibility standards that are expected of a public building and this is an essential component of the works to the Northern Estate as well. Accessibility over the whole Northern Estate site will be vastly improved, including to the temporary House of Commons Chamber.
Modern facilities for Parliament
The proposals will create a fit for purpose modern estate for generations to come. The new Richmond House delivers much needed new flexible workspace whilst major investment into the existing buildings has been a fundamental requirement of the Parliamentary Estate for years.
The fastest route to delivery and the best value for money for the taxpayer
The works to the Palace of Westminster need to take place urgently given the current state of the building and both Houses of Parliament have endorsed the plan to fully vacate the Palace. These proposals represent the fastest, best value option to deliver the required spaces and create a lasting legacy for Parliament.
A safe and secure environment for MPs, staff and visitors
The plans enable all MPs and their staff to work from a safe and secure site. It is also essential to remain in close proximity to the House of Lords and other Parliamentary and Government buildings around Whitehall to allow the formal and informal interactions that take place between the two Houses and Government departments to continue.
Improving public access to the House of Commons
Approximately one million people pass through Parliament’s doors every year, including school children, constituents, business, charities and tourists. Public engagement is a vital element of our Parliamentary democracy and the new spaces provided within Richmond House will maintain public access to the Chamber and Committee Rooms, alongside the provision of new education and participation spaces.
A wider legacy for Parliament
The flexibility for future use built into the new Richmond House brings with it the potential to free up spaces within the Palace of Westminster itself. For example some facilities could remain permanently based within the Northern Estate, allowing space within the Palace to be prioritised for improved public access and an expanded education programme.
Significant heritage benefits
With major investment and sensitive improvements to listed buildings across the Northern Estate, their condition is greatly enhanced and their long term use secured whilst minimising changes to the historic character of Whitehall and Parliament Street.
A major economic boost
The works to the Northern Estate and the Restoration and Renewal Programme represent one of the UK’s most important construction projects, creating thousands of skilled jobs including a number of work placements and apprenticeships,
and benefiting the economy.