Select Committee on Administration First Report

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  As a result of our deliberations, we believe there is a compelling case for pressing ahead with a new reception and security building on Cromwell Green as a first step to improving facilities for visitors and enhancing security. This forms the central recommendation of our Report. (Paragraph 8)

2.  We believe there is a need to attempt to develop unified projects: to provide a better access and welcome for visitors; and to provide information for visitors to explain how Parliament works and its purpose. It is these three elements—access, welcome and information—that should be the aim of any projects to improve visitor facilities. (Paragraph 16)

3.  The proposed new building would be single storey, with a flat roof at the Cromwell Green level, to minimise its impact on the setting of the Palace. The proposed ramp down from street level would be sited along the west wall of Cromwell Green. (Paragraph 21)

4.  There are significant benefits to the House of the proposed arrangements. For example, it will enable the unsightly X-ray machines and barriers to be removed from St Stephens's Entrance, thus enhancing the view of Westminster Hall. The new building will also have the capacity to accommodate three security screening machines as opposed to the two that are currently available at St Stephen's Entrance. This will increase the speed at which visitors will be able to enter Parliament, especially at times when large numbers of visitors arrive at the same time, for example, for mass lobbies or for functions. (Paragraph 23)

5.  Since we began consideration of these proposals, the level of terrorist threat has, at times, caused the security search of visitors to be moved outside the building into a tent awkwardly situated outside St Stephen's Entrance. In our view this reinforces the need for a purpose-built security building outside the main building where such controls can be operated in a way that is comfortable for public and staff alike. (Paragraph 24)

6.  We believe that, in the meantime, the House, in association with the House of Lords, needs to move ahead with constructing the proposed building and the new access route for the public. This would result in significant improvements in the facilities for visitors and enhance the security of the Palace of Westminster. (Paragraph 37)

7.  Our visitors are the electors of the present and the future, or those who come from abroad to visit one of the most important and historic sites in the United Kingdom. They deserve a positive approach to their access and welcome. With our proposals, we believe we have begun to demonstrate such a policy, which we hope the House will endorse. (Paragraph 38)

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2004
Prepared 10 February 2004