Joint Press Notice from
the Accommodation and Works Committee
and the Administration Committee

News Release

Session 2003 -04

10 February 2004

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Enquiries: Tim Jarvis 020 7219 2420

For immediate release


A report published today by two parliamentary committees recommends that proposals for a new visitor reception building on Cromwell Green should go ahead as soon as possible. The Accommodation and Works Committee and the Administration Committee both regard the proposed reception building as a significant step towards improving facilities for visitors.

The proposed building would provide better access and welcome for visitors, and improved information to explain how Parliament works. It would be single storey, with a flat roof at the Cromwell Green level, to minimise its impact on the setting of the Palace. A ramp would lead down from street level.  The plan is for this ramp to be covered to protect visitors from the elements. 

The report is due to be debated by the House of Commons in the next month or so.

Derek Conway, Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee, said:

“Parliament receives over 400,000 visitors a year(3). Some of those come here to visit their MP, and some are here to admire the historic buildings. But the great British tradition of queueing up outside in all weathers has had its day. I hope that the proposed new building will really improve things for everyone visiting Parliament.”

Marion Roe, Chairman of the Administration Committee, said:

 “The balance between access and security is a difficult one. While everyone accepts the need for increased security, it’s important to ensure that the public still feel welcome.  The proposed new building is supported by those responsible for security at Westminster.  It should also mark an important development in enhancing facilities for visitors.”

The two Committees believe that their proposed solution is only an initial and partial one. Other welcome facilities might include, for example, an exhibition space, accommodation for school parties, a ticket office and a display area for works of art. The Committees identify the need for a fuller study and further report on these additional facilities.


Notes for Editors:

1.  Accommodation and Works Committee membership: Mr. Bob Ainsworth, Mr. Tony Banks, Mr. Harold Best, Derek Conway (Chairman), Mr. Stephen Hepburn, Mr. Patrick McLoughlin, Albert Owen, Anne Picking, Sir Robert Smith.

2.  Administration Committee membership: Mr Nick Ainger, Mrs Patsy Calton, Caroline Flint, Martin Linton, Mr. Peter Luff, Mr. Iain Luke, Mr. John MacDougall, Julie Morgan, Mrs Marion Roe (Chairman).

3.  This is an approximate figure which does not include people who visit on official business. A further breakdown of visitor numbers is on page 5 of the report, which will be available via the Committees’ websites from 3.30 p.m.:

4.  Derek Conway, Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee will be available for interviews and further briefing between 11.30 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Tuesday.  Please call 020 7219 8305.

Further Information:

Media Inquiries: Tim Jarvis, 020 7219 2420;

Parliament Website: . Watch Select Committees in action, and comprehensive live coverage of debates in the House of Commons, House of Lords and Westminster Hall: