The Houses of Parliament is to have a visitors' centre, designed by Architects Design Partnership.

The reception centre for the public, which was granted planning permission at the end of January, will replace the site huts outside St Stephen's Entrance, which have been in place since 2004.

When completed, the centre will house the searching and security areas and give visitors a new way into the Palace of Westminster. It will also include an information kiosk and a canopy leading from the reception centre towards Westminster Hall.

Roger Fitzgerald, a partner in Architects Design Partnership, said the designers had decided not to mimic the existing building. He said: "We haven't fallen into the trap of creating a pseudo-gothic style: we see it as the next step for the design."

The plans have been backed by English Heritage, CABE and the Westminster Society but opposed by the Thorney Island Society, a heritage organisation, which claimed that the designs did not live up to the demands and prestige of the site.

We haven’t fallen into the trap of creating a pseudo-gothic style: we see it as the next step for the design

Roger Fitzgerald, Architects Design Partnership

The reception centre was meant to be considered alongside a masterplan for Parliament Square drawn up by Foster and Partners and DSDHA. These plans, which were due to be published last autumn, have been delayed and Westminster council did not want that to affect the centre.

Deborah Saunt, a partner in DSDHA, said the proposals for Parliament Square were complete and that the Greater London Authority was working on the final report. She said: "It's like nothing ever seen before in the centre of London. It'll be pedestrianised and we've done lots of historical analysis, so expect to see evidence of that in the final design."