The plan agreed by Parliament
The decision making process
The Restoration and Renewal Programme is established to examine options to undertake the major renovation works needed to the Palace of Westminster.
December 2013 – June 2015
A consortium is appointed to produce an Independent Options Appraisal with illustrative costs and timescales for a major refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster. Published in June 2015, this compares three options – a rolling programme of works whilst the building remains in use; the refurbishment of half the building at a time with each House vacating in turn; and the full move-out of the Palace of Westminster enabling all works to be delivered together. The report concludes the fully vacated option is the lowest cost, fastest option and “provides the best opportunity to mitigate disruption and nuisance over the long-term.”
A Joint Select Committee, made up of Members of both Houses, is set up to consider the findings of the Independent Options Appraisal report and make recommendations. At this time, the Restoration and Renewal Programme began assessing a range of temporary accommodation sites for the Palace of Westminster.
A review of potential relocation options is conducted by the Restoration and Renewal Programme team alongside the Joint Committee deliberations. Given the well-established need to be in close proximity to Government departments in and around Westminster, this included Horse Guards Parade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury, QEII Conference Centre and Richmond House on Whitehall.
Following its year-long inquiry, the Committee concludes that the lowest risk, most cost-effective and quickest option to undertake the essential works would be for all Members and staff to move out of the Palace temporarily in one single phase while works take place. It also concludes that “the best decant solution for the House of Commons appears to be a solution based around Richmond House and the Northern Estate.” The preferred option for the House of Lords is to be temporarily relocated to the QEII Conference Centre, subject to further feasibility work.
The Murphy Perimeter Security Review, which followed the Westminster attacks, strengthens the case for MPs’ accommodation to be located within a continuous single secure site. Of all the potential options considered, only the Northern Estate could provide such space within a secure perimeter.
January – February 2018
The Government tables two motions on restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, with a debate in the House of Commons in late January and in the Lords in early February. Both Houses back the decision for a full move as the “best and most cost effective way” of carrying out the works.
This website sets out the proposals to temporarily relocate the House of Commons to Parliament’s Northern Estate.
Indicative Development Timeline
- Essential refurbishment works commenced for Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben).
- Refurbishment begins on 1 Derby Gate and Commissioner’s Yard Gate.
- Parliament takes possession of Richmond House from the Government.
- Fire safety work carried out.
- Consultation on the Northern Estate proposals through the Spring and Summer.
- Legislation to formally establish a Delivery Authority and Sponsor Board, similar to those used for the London Olympics, to be introduced to Parliament (subject to the Parliamentary timetable).
- Northern Estate Programme to submit a suite of planning applications to Westminster City Council.
- Construction work to begin on Northern Estate Programme (subject to planning approvals).
- Planning applications submitted to provide temporary accommodation for the House of Lords at the QEII Conference Centre.
- Refurbishment works of the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) to be completed.
- Planning applications submitted for restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster.
- Work expected to be completed to enable the temporary relocation of Parliament.
- Work to begin on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster.
- Restoration and Renewal Programme of the Palace of Westminster is completed, enabling the functions
of the House of Commons and House of Lords to move back.
- Consolidating the buildings within the Parliamentary Estate.