Star Chamber Court (New Building)

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Building and Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 1967.

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Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim 12:00 am, 23rd January 1967

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works the cost of the new building in Star Chamber Court for construction and equipping, respectively.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works the cost per square foot of providing additional office space in the Palace of Westminster.

Photo of Mr Reginald Prentice Mr Reginald Prentice , East Ham North

The total cost of constructing the new building in Star Chamber Court was about £230,000—which works out a gross cost per square foot of about £18. Equipping the building cost about £16,000.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

While I admit that the building looks attractive even if expensive, may I ask whether the Minister feels that it is really justified to incur such expense at this time?

Photo of Mr Reginald Prentice Mr Reginald Prentice , East Ham North

Yes, Sir, I do. This was the view taken by the Services Committee and by the House as a whole when the decision was made. Inevitably, because of the various restrictions and difficulties involved, building an extension on to the Palace of Westminster is an expensive operation. In terms of the extra accommodation which is provided, however, the extension will be a very great help and I think it will be welcomed by hon. Members generally.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

Is the Minister aware that most hon. Members, I think, certainly including myself, consider that the work done is of a very high standard indeed, but has he considered, and can he inform the House whether he thinks that there are, other means which are cheaper than this very high cost indeed of providing extra accommodation for hon. Members?

Photo of Mr Reginald Prentice Mr Reginald Prentice , East Ham North

I understand that there would not have been any cheaper means of providing the accommodation in this place. Hon. Members want accommodation close to the Chamber of the House. I am glad that the hon. Member has mentioned the high standards of the work. It reflects great credit on the architects and other professional people of my Ministry and on the contractors who did this work in time and in very difficult circumstances.