The Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme has been established to tackle the significant work that needs to be done to protect the heritage of the Palace of Westminster and ensure it can continue to serve as home to the UK Parliament in the 21st century and beyond. Given the poor condition of the fabric and systems of the Palace, a major programme of work needs to be carried out to protect and preserve the legacy of the Palace for future generations.
In September 2016 the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster concluded that the Palace of Westminster ‘faces an impending crisis which we cannot responsibly ignore’ and that the lowest risk, most cost-effective and quickest option to undertake these essential works would be for all MPs, Peers, and staff to move out of the Palace temporarily in one single phase. Parliament has been grappling with this problem for more than a decade, and carrying out as much essential work as possible within the constraints of a working building, but it has reached a point where fundamental and urgent problems cannot be addressed with Parliament in occupation.
Chris Bryant MP, Joint Committee member and spokesperson, will lead a panel of speakers asking what next for the future of a restored and renewed Palace of Westminster. The panel will be:
- Matthew Flinders: Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre at the University of Sheffield. He is also Chair of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom and board member of the Academy of Social Sciences. He is leading a multi-disciplinary research and public engagement project, Designing for Democracy. Matt will offer his views on the opportunities and threats the Restoration and Renewal Programme could present and the factors that are most likely to turn it into a triumph rather than a disaster.
- Hugh Feilden: Specialist conservation architect and Partner at Feilden+Mawson. Hugh was one of a range of expert witnesses who recently gave evidence to the Joint Committee, in his capacity as Chair of the RIBA Conservation Group.
- Oonagh Gay: Adviser to MPs and staff in the House of Commons Library for 32 years, and was chair of the Study of Parliament Group. She has an interest in the potential of the Restoration and Renewal Programme for deepening public involvement in the Palace of Westminster, an iconic democratic site.