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Major step forward in restoration of Palace of Westminster

The Victorian Society has welcomed today’s report on the different options for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster.

The Palace of Westminster, London

The Victorian Society has welcomed today’s report on the different options for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster. The most expensive option, at £5.67bn, is to carry out the work on an ongoing basis for around 32 years with Parliament remaining in the building. The cheapest option, at £3.52bn, is for both houses to leave for six years while the work is carried out. The Society is pleased that all options envisage the ongoing use of the Palace for the purpose it was designed for. 

Director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘There will doubtless be much controversy over the projected costs of the building work. Whichever restoration option Parliament chooses, this exceptional building is simply too important for the work not to be carried out. The Palace of Westminster is not only the ‘mother of parliaments’ it is our equivalent of the Eiffel Tower – an international symbol of the UK. This report is an important step towards securing the future of this absolutely irreplaceable Grade I-listed world heritage site’.  

The Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) for the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster sets out a range of scenarios, with costs, timescales, risks and benefits. The report is intended to enable Parliament to make an informed decision on which option to choose. A comprehensive restoration programme is unlikely to start before 2020/21.

The Victorian Society is not lobbying for any particular restoration option to be chosen. What matters is that this exceptionally important, high quality building at the heart of public life is preserved in the use it was designed for, on the site of a thousand years of Government. The Society is willing to provide any input necessary to help in this process.

Following a competition the Palace of Westminster was re-built to the architect Charles Barry’s designs with the interiors of other aspects designed by A.W.N Pugin. Construction began in 1840 at an estimated cost of £724,986.It was not until 10 years after Barry's death in 1860 that the new Palace was completed at a cost of over £2 million.

Thursday 18 June, 2015

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