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Project George

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1016W, on Project George, what estimate of costs has been budgeted for within the Cabinet Office estates budget; what the remit and purpose are of Project George; what the timetable is for the works; whether the works will require planning permission; whether (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) HM Treasury have been consulted on the (i) planning and (ii) implementation of the project; and if she will place in the Library the architect's plans for the project. (124749)

[holding answer 2 March 2007]: No significant refurbishment works have been undertaken at 70 Whitehall and the Downing street complex since the large-scale rebuilding works that took place between 1960 and 1963. Much of the infrastructure at 70 Whitehall now needs to be renewed and/or upgraded, including ventilation and cooling systems, electrical transformers, and IT and telecommunications cabling, and we are also seeking to improve access and reception arrangements and other essential maintenance works. A decision has been taken to pursue necessary improvements through ongoing annual maintenance works. Planning permission and/or listed building consent will be sought where required. Any costs involved in the maintenance and improvement of the Cabinet Office estate will be included in the Cabinet Office accounts.