Until a 14th July deadline, any UK resident can contribute their thoughts regarding key topics for the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme. These include decision making on accessibility, inclusion, environmental sustainability, architectural heritage and the distribution of jobs.
Once the public’s opinions have been gathered, their feedback, alongside that of “MPs, Peers, the Parliamentary community and a range of other organisations with an interest in the Palace of Westminster”, will inform the creation of a detailed and costed restoration plan.
It is thought that a fully costed scheme will require over 100 investigative surveys, with specialist teams spending thousands of hours analysing the building and its 1,100 rooms with over 3,000 windows.
A formal proposal featuring costs and timescales is anticipated to be considered by Parliament in 2023.
“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,” says Jacob Rees Mogg, leader of the House of Commons.
“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.”
Maintenance and ongoing work to the 150-year-old parliamentary buildings is now said to cost the taxpayer around £125m annually – double the amount spent just three years go – and so restoration work to minimise this spend has been deemed essential.
Another motivator for pursuing this scheme now is that it is expected to create “thousands of jobs and training opportunities across the UK” at a time when many people are still on furlough or facing employment insecurity.
People have until 14th July to contribute their thoughts on the programme. Submissions can be made by visiting the Restoration and Renewal online conversation platform or by post.