Buckingham Palace and Westminster in need of urgent repairs

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2015 18:43 IST

Both Buckingham Palace and the palace of Westminster are in need of urgent repairs, with leaking roofs and pipes, old wiring and plumbing, crumbling brick – and even infestations of mice.

Estimates say the repair work at the palace of Westminster, which include the House of Commons and House of Lords, may cost nearly 7.1 billion pounds, while those at Buckingham Palace are expected to cost 150 million pounds.

If MPs and lords remain while the repair is carried out, the necessary work will take an estimated 32 years and could cost 5.7 billion pounds, with the possibility that the figure could hit 7.1 billion pounds, a new report says.

Another option suggested is that parliament be vacated in turn and the repair carried out at a cost of around 4.4 billion pounds. And fully vacating it would take six years and cost around 3.9 billion to complete the repaird. MPs are due to decide the option.

Work at the palace of Westminster needed includes a new 10-storey lift to take MPs and members of the public up the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Big Ben, landscaping courtyards and improving banqueting facilities.

Queen Elizabeth may also have to move out while the maintenance work is carried out. Besides new plumbing and wiring, significant amount of asbestos also needs to be removed from Buckingham Palace.

Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse, said: "Over the coming years, the maintenance of the estate and in particular Buckingham Palace, will present a significant financial challenge”.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said it was crucial for the repairs at the palace of Westminster to be "cost-effective", and added that the sums outlined by consultants “seem to be very high” and there needed to be “proper scrutiny of value for the taxpayer”.

The Buckingham Palace was built in early eighteenth century; the last time major repair was carried out was in 1952, when Queen Elizabeth was coronated. Parts of the palace of Westminster were first built in the eleventh century.

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