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Star Chamber Court

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th February 2006.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes 2:30 pm, 28th February 2006

What the final cost was of erecting the cover over the walkway in Star Chamber Court.

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Liberal Democrat, North Devon

The final cost of designing, fabricating and erecting the cover over the walkway in Star Chamber Court was £435,000.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes

That is a grotesque sum to spend on such a feature. Is my hon. Friend aware that while almost £500,000 was being thrown away on that absurdity the energy efficiency budget of the House has been cut by 40 per cent. since 1997 and electricity consumption has gone up by 45 per cent? Is not it time that he brought some sanity, common sense and clarity to the House of Commons Commission?

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Liberal Democrat, North Devon

The House of Commons Accommodation and Works Committee approved the construction of the canopy in March 2004, after the estates directorates of the House had identified the need to cover the walkway along the east side of Star Chamber Court following the review of access and security arrangements for visitors to the Palace, which led to the plans for the new visitor reception area. The Parliamentary Works Services Directorate developed the brief and design for the canopy in consultation with English Heritage and Westminster city council under grade I listed building and world heritage site status. The requirements of those consultations led to the costs of the project working out at much more than originally anticipated.