Now people want to move the Houses of Parliament to Bristol as the Palace of Westminster undergoes a £5.7bn restoration

 
Emma Haslett
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The design nestles Parliament in next to Temple Meads station (Source: Studio Egret West)

First of all we were going to move the Houses of Parliament to Hull - now the nation's politicians are heading off to the Westcountry, if one design studio gets its way.

Yes, Bristol-based architect Studio Egret has come up with a new design for the Houses of Parliament - nestled in next to Bristol's Templemeads station.

This isn't just some random thought exercise, either: at some point over the next few years, the whole of the nation's political elite is going to have to pack up and move out of the Palace of Westminster, as the crumbling buildings undergo a £5.7bn restoration.

But while the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, on the other side of Parliament Square, has been mooted as the most likely place for politicians to set up shop temporarily, Studio Egret reckons the money would be better spent making Bristol politicians' permanent home.

Doing so would "promote greater accountability, visibility and connectivity between politicians and people", it suggests.

The design takes the form of a "hill", which visitors arriving at the station "are invited to scale and look down from a viewing platform into the 'speakers' theatre', the organic form of which is designed to encourage collective decision-making", said the designers.

"The debating chamber, inspired by the idea of a clearing in the woods encourages a less combative approach to government business with opportunities for better cross party cooperation."

Even George Ferguson, the mayor of Bristol, has waded into the debate.

"Bristol is the prime UK city for government relocation," he said.

"It is an opportunity to help reduce the staggering cost of restoring the Palace of Westminster and to take some of the economic heat out of London." Er, quite.

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