The Houses of Parliament could close for up to five years so it can undergo a £3 billion refurbishment, it has been reported.
According to reports on Sunday, the House of Commons may have to temporarily move from the Grade I-listed Charles Barry-designed landmark into Powell Moya & Partners’s nearby Queen Elizabeth II conference centre (1986) while refurbishment is underway.
The Sunday Times reported that the House of Commons commission, chaired by the Speaker John Bercow, is currently investigating the options for the refurbishment, which could begin in 2015.
As well as moving people out of the Houses of Commons and Lords, it could involve building a replica chamber while the overhaul takes place.
Although there is an ongoing programme of repairs at the Houses of Parliament, it is understood an in-depth study has been commissioned into the long-term upkeep of the ‘tired’ building which was mainly built in the 1840s and 1850s.
However among the more serious problems allegedly discovered are ‘chronic subsidence, electrical problems, fire risks, plumbing leaks’ and problems with asbestos.
The plans remain at a ‘very early stage’.