§ Mr. Ray Powell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress had been made in implementing the recommendation in the Services Committee's report, "New Parliamentary Building Phase 2: The Next Steps", HC561, that the Property Services Agency should undertake a feasibility study for the development of the phase 2 site; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chope
Since the House approved the report in December, the agency has undertaken a wide-ranging search to identify an architectural practice with the talent and expertise to undertake the development of this highly sensitive and technically difficult site. Following interviews by a panel chaired by Bryan Jefferson, CBE, past president of RIBA and special advisor to the Secretary of State on architectural matters, a short-list of suitable practices submitted fee bids. I am now able to announce that, with the agreement of the New Building Sub-Committee, Michael Hopkins and Partners have been commissioned by the Department to carry out the studies on the Palace Chambers site, Nos. 1 and 2 Bridge street and the proposed subway in accordance with the Committee's recommendations.
I am grateful to the hon. Member and his colleagues on the New Building Sub-Committee for their advice and support in making this recommendation and look forward to a close working relationship between the Department and the Sub-Committee in developing the proposals for the benefit of Parliament.
I hope to be able to report the results of the studies before the end of the year.