The team leading plans to restore and renew the House of Parliament have visited Wolverhampton to meet business leaders and university students.
The visit by the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal programme took place at the University of Wolverhampton’s iconic £120m Springfield Campus on Thursday, 25 November 2021.
The former derelict brewery site has been transformed and is now home to the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, and students met with the team to hear more about the plans and the skills needed for the Houses of Parliament restoration.
The Palace of Westminster, home of Parliament, is one of the most recognised buildings in the world but is falling apart faster than it can be fixed and needs a programme of essential restoration work. Restoring and renewing the iconic building will support thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, involving craftspeople and businesses from across the UK in a national effort.
The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme is currently developing a detailed and costed restoration plan, and visiting locations around the UK to discuss the skills that will be needed to carry out the project and understand how people and businesses across the country can be involved in the work. They met with business and education leaders for a wide-ranging roundtable discussion led by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, followed by a tour of the Springfield Campus which included insights from Associated Architects who led the renovation of the School of Architecture and Built Environment.
Dr Paul Hampton, Interim Head of School, Architecture and Built Environment, said: “We were delighted to welcome the team behind the renovation and renewal of the Houses of Parliament to Wolverhampton to hear about the innovative work and training going on in our region.
“The transformation of the Springfield Campus is an outstanding example of what can be done to breathe new life and energy into buildings while maintaining the heritage. Our main focus at the University is to create opportunities and embed employability into all our courses, and the visit enabled our students to benefit from hearing about a once in a lifetime chance to be involved in the restoration of one of our country’s most iconic buildings.”
Chair of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority, Mike Brown CBE MVO, said: “Restoring the Houses of Parliament will support thousands of jobs and apprenticeships across the UK so it’s vital we understand how best to harness the skills and expertise of businesses and people nationwide. It was fantastic to meet enthusiastic apprentices and students, and discuss how to support jobs in the region with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce at the University of Wolverhampton’s magnificent Springfield heritage construction skills site.”
James Gaskin, a first year Apprentice Quantity Surveying student, was part of the tour. He said: “It was great to have the opportunity to be part of the visit and hear more about this landmark heritage project. I’d love to be involved in a project like this in the future.”
The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme is a national project that will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises and create training opportunities all over the country. Parliament will be invited to approve the detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan in 2023.
The project will create a host of new employment and training opportunities, supporting thousands of jobs in construction, engineering, design, and IT, as well as attracting those with specialist skills in carpentry, stonemasonry, metalwork, heritage conservation and more.
Home to the Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC), the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, the regeneration of the former Springfield Brewery is central to the University’s vision of enhancing the student experience and supporting business growth. It will also be home to the University’s new National Brownfield Research Institute for which the University secured £14.9 million funding from the BCLEP through the government’s Get Building Fund.
The Springfield project is funded by the Black Country LEP, the European Regional Development Fund, the Government’s Growth Deals and the former Higher Education Funding Council for England. It is also sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Wedge Group Galvanizing. The University’s partnership with City of Wolverhampton Council has also been crucial to the successful completion of the project.