A series of planning applications for Parliament’s Northern Estate, the group of buildings along Parliament Street and Whitehall, have now been submitted to Westminster City Council for determination.
The plans are the essential first step to enable the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster as they include a new temporary House of Commons Chamber and associated facilities, together with workspace for all 650 MPs and their staff within a single secure site.
A temporary House of Commons Chamber will be delivered within a substantially redeveloped Richmond House, the former Department for Health building which it vacated at the end of 2017.
The temporary chamber has been carefully designed to replicate the familiar character and the functions of the existing House of Commons Chamber and will provide a greater level of accessibility for MPs and visitors, including a fully accessible public gallery. A new press gallery and education and participation spaces will also be provided to ensure continued public access and engagement.
The building which replaces Richmond House will be of exceptional architectural quality, designed by Stirling Prize winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, one of the UK’s leading architecture practices. It retains key frontages visible to the public – the Richmond Terrace and the Whitehall façade, revealing internally the full scale of the Whitehall façade with a triple height central lobby space.
A public consultation was launched on the proposals in May 2019 and a series of changes to the proposals have been made as a result. Most notably, the submitted proposals no longer include a security pavilion from in front of Richmond House – which was felt to block views of the façade – with these functions to be incorporated into the adjacent 85 Whitehall / 54 Parliament Street.
A document which summarises the final proposals and the key changes made during consultation has also been published and is available for download at northernestate.parliament.uk.
Westminster City Council will now conduct its own statutory consultation process. You can view the planning application documents and leave a comment by visiting Westminster City Council’s planning portal at www.westminster.gov.uk/planning.
Subject to planning permission, it is expected that works on the Northern Estate could begin during 2020 so that works to the Palace of Westminster itself can begin in the mid-2020s.