Today’s vote could see revamp facing four year delay

Palace of westminster

The Palace of Westminster could find itself on the ’at risk’ register for historic sites if MPs vote to further delay much needed renovations.

Ahead of today’s vote on whether to delay a decision on works required to secure the future of the Houses of Parliament, Historic England has warned any deferral of restoration works was inadvisable.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “We have been advising on the state of the building’s fabric for some time and agree with the findings of the Joint Committee that the Palace faces a variety of problems which require urgent attention.

“If the first motion (Restoration and Renewal [No. 1]) were passed in this afternoon’s parliamentary debat, there would be a further delay of five years, during which time the problems the building faces would worsen and there would be an increased risk of damage to the fabric.

“As this is a Grade I listed, internationally significant building, if the motion to delay were passed we would consider assessing the Palace for potential inclusion (as a whole or in part) on the Heritage at Risk Register. 

“We will continue to work with all those involved to ensure the Palace’s future is secured. It is our view that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address some of the Palace’s long-standing problems, as well as being a chance to open up more of this iconic historic building to the public.”

The vote, which will take place this afternoon, will decide whetere the decision on whether to carry out the proposed £6bn revamp of the Palace of Westminster could now be delayed by up to four years with actual restoration work not starting for another decade.

MPs will decide on proposals to carry out only essential work to services during the current Parliament and agree to review the need for more comprehensive works before its end in 2022.

The vote has already been delayed from earlier this month and comes more than two-and-a-half years after a report, commissioned by both Houses of Parliament, was published looking at options for carrying out urgent renovation works that could take 30 years to complete.

Three options were proposed in the study put together by a team featuring Deloitte Real Estate, Aecom and HOK, who warned that work needed to start soon or the grade I-listed building would face irreversible damage. The June 2015 report added work should begin by 2021 otherwise the scheme would face cost hikes of £2m a week.