The Palace of Westminster is due to undergo a £5.6billion modernisation, with works due to start in 2025. While the refurbishment takes place, both chambers of the Commons will temporarily relocate, with peers moving to the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre located round the corner from Parliament. When the relocation was first announced, it was agreed the centre would undergo “minimal” refitting; but a leaked document shows peers want to radically overhaul the building.
Minutes of a cross-party Lords committee meeting last month reveal peers discussed installing a grand new central staircase, as well as transforming the sixth floor into a catering suit with bars and restaurants.
The new staircase would “bring in natural light and improve access options between floors”.
The document also revealed peers had suggested transforming the top floor into a series of bars and restaurants, amid fears they will be deprived of access to subsided catering services during the move.
It said: “For the top floor to provide the majority of catering services, a mixture of served and self-service; with the main preparation located in the basement.”
Costs for restoration works to Parliament are feared to exceed the £5.6billion estimat (Image: Getty)
The restoration is due to start in 2025 (Image: Getty)
Peers also suggested there could be “smaller outlets located throughout the building”, according to the Mail Online.
But the Tories look set to keep a lid on the costs, with both the Commons Leader and Leader of the Lords steadfast in ensuring “taxpayers get value for money”.
Baroness Evans, Leader of the Lords, is understood to be “hawkish” about costs and has asked for regular updates on the budgets.
Figures in a report produced by a Joint Committee of both Houses in 2016 suggested the “decant” of the whole Palace of Westminster would cost £380million.
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Costs for renovating Big Ben has soared to £80million (Image: PA)
But it made clear that figure was based on work on temporary accommodation, the Queen Elizabeth II Centre for the Lords and Richmond House for the Commons, being “minimised as far as possible”.
The report said: “A minimum level of reconfiguration and fit-out of the