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Restoration and Renewal CEO resigns following Parliament’s decision to scrap sponsor body

(Image | Alamy)

2 min read

The CEO and several members of senior staff at the Restoration and Renewal sponsor body have announced that they are leaving the project following Parliament’s decision to scrap it.

It comes after the Commons and Lords commissions agreed in February to "replace" the body, which had been established to deliver the project. 

A spokesperson stated at the time that “further consideration” would be required before a decision was reached on “what should replace it”.

The sponsor body’s CEO Sarah Johnson said in a statement this week that she would be departing from her role “before the summer Parliamentary recess” following the decision.

“In the light of the decisions made by the Commissions of both Houses earlier this year, it is right that new arrangements are taken forward for the future of the restoration,” she wrote.

“Parliamentary authorities and the transition team are currently focussing on this.”

Johnson also announced that three other senior members of staff were also leaving: Amanda Colledge, business case director; Claire Maugham, communications director; and Chris Sexton, chief of staff.

“The Commissions of both Houses have stated they are committed to preserving the Palace and are exploring whether a new approach could enable R&R to be delivered in a different way,” she continued.

“The Delivery Authority is continuing with its programme of surveys and investigations into the condition of the buildings which will inform future decisions. 

“The Sponsor Body leadership team will continue to work with them while arrangements are made for the future of the sponsorship function for the programme.”

Plans provisionally agreed in 2018 proposed that MPs and peers should decant to nearby Richmond House while restoration of the estate took place.

But a report by the sponsor body published in 2021 recommended that the decant last up to 20 years, at a cost of £14 billion.

A range of proposals was expected to be put before parliamentarians in 2023, with work expected to begin in the mid-2020s.

The estimates came after ongoing surveys found damage to the Palace was more widespread than initially anticipated, with a spokesperson for the programme saying the detailed plans would be based on "tens of thousands of hours of building investigations."

In a meeting of the Lords and Commons Commissions held in February, shortly after the publication of the recommended decant, it was agreed that the sponsor body would be scrapped and that its replacement be more focused on. 

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