The C20 Society is deeply disappointed by the conclusions of the Strategic Review of the Restoration and Renewal Programme for the Houses of Parliament published on 11th March, and calls on Parliament to reject its recommendation which is both extravagant and destructive of irreplaceable heritage.
The report looks at options for relocating both Lords and Commons whilst much needed refurbishment of the iconic C19th building takes place.
When it was announced last May, Parliament promised that the report would consider new ways of working developed in response to Covid-19, and C20 Society was optimistic that the flexible solutions many of us have adapted to in the last year would both save public money and prevent the proposed demolition of the Grade II* Richmond House by William Whitfield, which we have previously strongly opposed.
The recent review states that building a temporary Commons chamber in the courtyard of the Grade II* listed Richmond House (a solution which C20 Society supports) works out as “the cheapest of the shortlisted schemes by some way” and that “its qualitative ‘whole life cost’ score exceeds all the others”. However, this is still not rated as the favourite option, as it would require compromises to MPs’ temporary accommodation including smaller division lobbies, no gym, and reduced catering.
The weighting system currently applied to scoring the options considered means that the highest scoring option for relocating the House of Commons is still the previously favoured proposal for a full Richmond House redevelopment, which involves wasteful demolition of this outstanding building.
C20 Society Director Catherine Croft says: “We strongly believe that the weighting system needs revising and we support the courtyard system as the cheapest, least destructive option. Having shown that there are alternatives to demolishing the Grade II* building, Parliament should be setting a good example, rather than allowing themselves to undermine the country’s heritage protection system that all other listed building owners have to comply with.”
Read our past press releases on this campaign here and here.