PRESS RELEASE: SAVE welcomes wide-ranging review of Parliament's R&R Programme

19th May 2020

Marcus Binney, executive president of SAVE Britain's Heritage said today: "We are delighted that common sense has prevailed. Huge amounts of public money are at stake and now at last there is a proper opportunity to look at simpler, cheaper and less destructive ways of providing temporary accommodation for MPs and Peers. SAVE has led the way in calling for a rethink and asking Parliament to consider alternatives to the needless destruction of Richmond House, agrade II* listed building built to endure."

In a press release issued on 19th May 2020, the new Sponsor Body in charge of the parliamentary works programme states that, "The body will re-examine evidence behind options developed over five years ago, including the plan to relocate temporarily all MPs and Peers while the work takes place. The review will consider the trade-offs between cost, timescales and scope that Parliament would need to make in order to ensure best value for money, in line with recent recommendations from the National Audit Office."

SAVE believes this can result in saving time as well as a massive amount of public money. The Parliamentary authorities have been pursuing ever more complicated plans, way beyond what is needed to provide temporary accommodation for the debating Chambers of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

The demolition of Richmond House would also result in dumping approximately 25,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere - the equivalent of 25,000 single flights from London to New York. Re-using and retrofitting more buildings like Richmond House is vital if we are to meet new carbon targets by the middle of this century.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain's Heritage said: "We welcome this opportunity to look again at alternatives to demolishing Richmond House. Re-thinking the temporary MPs chamber plan is plain common sense - in both financial and carbon emission terms."

Under the current plans which include the demolition of Richmond House and rebuilding a temporary MPs chamber on the site, the cost of works on the Northern Estate associated with temporary facilities has risen hugely. Figures between £800m and £1.6bn have been quoted and may rise further. By contrast in January 2020 SAVE Britain's Heritage and Mark Hines architects published an alternative proposal showing how a temporary chamber can be accommodated within the existing courtyard of Richmond House - and would be least £500m cheaper than the proposals currently on offer. 

SAVE will seek an early opportunity to meet the review team and present the alternatives we have prepared notably with Mark Hines architects.



Note to editors

  1. For further information contact Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE Britain's Heritage at or on 07388 181 181.
  2. See here the report by University of Westminster on the energy saving alternative of retrofitting Richmond House. 
  3. See here for our alternative scheme in collaboration with Mark Hines architects which shows how Richmond House can accommodate a new chamber within the existing building - and save at least £500m.
  4. For more details about SAVE Britain's Heritage see here.