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Applications submitted for temporary House of Commons chamber

Words: Huw Morris
Parliament / iStock-611177162

Planning applications for a major overhaul of the Palace of Westminster including a temporary home for the House of Commons chamber have been submitted.

The House of Commons Northern Estate programme includes the substantial demolition and redevelopment of Richmond House in Whitehall to provide a new part seven storey, part six storey building with a roof terrace and three levels of basement for parliamentary uses. Refurbishment and alterations are also planned for 49, 50, 53 and 54 Parliament Street and 85 Whitehall, including a new bridge link, to provide a visitor entrance, visitor shop and workspaces for MPs and supporting staff.

The proposal accommodates a new temporary chamber for the House of Commons. The site is located directly to the north of the Palace of Westminster, within the Central Activities Zone, which Westminster’s City Plan describes as “one of the most recognised, celebrated and exciting places in the world” and  “emblematic of London itself”.

The Northern Estate comprises a group of buildings which have been built independently over 300 years. A planning statement accompanying the applications says the current arrangement of the buildings has been “determined by the passage of history rather than a composed masterplan”. With the exception of Portcullis House, none of the buildings across the estate were built or designed with a parliamentary use in mind.

The buildings and office accommodation falls under the sui generis use class, enabling the primary activity of government and parliamentary functions.

Image credit | iStock