March 2019 Issue 1
Where are we now?
2018 saw the Restoration and Renewal Programme take some momentous steps.
In the early part of the year Parliament collectively decided to press ahead with the restoration and renewal, and to move into temporary accommodation while the work was carried out.
Then in the summer, the Programme appointed a shadow Sponsor Board to take the lead on the work until it could be set up in statutory form.
But what does 2019 hold in store? Below are some areas we will be focusing on in the coming months.
A new law to help the Restoration and Renewal Programme
Work has started to establish the governing bodies for the Programme through legislation. The legislation was published last year and is called the draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill.
A joint select committee has scrutinised the draft Bill and published its report. The Bill will be introduced later in 2019 and once passed into law, this will effectively create the Sponsor Board and Delivery Authority in statutory form.
Developing plans for temporary accommodation for the Lords
The preferred House of Lords decant location, subject to a business case, is the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. This is on Broad Sanctuary, opposite Westminster Abbey. This year the Restoration and Renewal Programme will carry out feasibility work on these plans, as well as making a start on initial consultation.
Investigating the condition of the Palace
A key part of the early preparation work is trying to gain a better understanding of the condition of the building, address any gaps in our knowledge, and analyse how people use the spaces within it.
Surveys on the Palace of Westminster started earlier this year and will continue over the next 12 months.
The Northern Estate Programme
Although the Northern Estate Programme is separate to the Restoration and Renewal Programme, it includes the creation of space and facilities needed for the House of Commons to temporarily move out of the Palace. The Northern Estate Programme and the Restoration and Renewal Programme teams have been working closely together, and will continue to do so, throughout this year.
The Archives Accommodation Programme
There are around four million precious records within the Parliamentary Archives. The majority are held in the Victoria Tower, and every single one will need to be removed ahead of the restoration and renewal work on the building. Work has already begun to prepare these archives for removal, including a three-year process of conservation cleaning, packing, cataloguing and barcoding collections. This project is called Pack and Track.
It is well underway and is expected to continue throughout the next two years.