Number 10’s ‘Travelodge’ Media Briefing Room was started without listed building consent

Times Red Box

Plenty of laughs in Whitehall yesterday at leaked pictures – even this government comms operation wouldn’t press release something with a Henry Hoover visible in shot – of Downing Street’s £2.6 million new broadcast studio, which had been bouncing between civil servants in central government for some time before ITV broke the story yesterday.

It is fair to say the Travelodge-style décor has divided opinion between the disgusted and merely embarrassed. One baffled government source told Red Box: “£2.6 million? Who did they get in to do it? Derry Irvine’s interior decorators?”

Not quite, but a Russian technology company is perhaps even more embarrassing for this government than the then Lord Chancellor’s artisan wallpaper was for Tony Blair.

Construction was a fraught process. Red Box can reveal that a row erupted after a contractor started work on part of the listed building without first asking permission. It’s a shame the damage subsequently done was even worse.