Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fears Westminster Could Fall Into The Thames (Is that the problem, or the solution?)

Fears that the Palace of Westminster could fall into the Thames have prompted MPs to discuss selling the seat of British power.

Subsidence caused by work on Parliament's underground car park and the construction of new Tube tunnels have led to cracks appearing in walls around the Houses of Commons and Lords.

The damage has prompted fears the palace could sink into the river. It has already resulted in Britain's own leaning Tower of Pisa: reports show that Big Ben's bell tower is leaning 18ins at its peak.

MPs on the House of Commons Commission, responsible for the upkeep of the Parliamentary estate, meet tomorrow to discuss a surveyor's report that suggests options for dealing with the problems.

Those options include repairs to the mock-Gothic building which may mean peers and MPs temporarily moving out.

The most radical solution would be to sell the estate and move into new offices, though politicians are unlikely to abandon such a famous and prestigious Grade I-listed location.

A Commons spokesman told The Sunday Times: "The commission will be considering whether to ask officials from both Houses to undertake a study into the long-term approach to the maintenance of Parliament.

"No decisions are likely to be taken for several years as to whether either House will need to move out of the palace for a period to allow essential work to take place." more