You don't need to take the console off. I've just replaced the parking brake handle on the wife's '99 2.0 litre Ghia, took 40 mins.
Be careful prising off the gaiter, it's only held in place by a flexible pastic trim. Gently insert a flat bladed screwdriver at the rear end (closet to the rear seats) of the gaiter and softly push down & towards the rear seats. It's only a small plastic lip to clip out, then squeeze both sides and the two at the front/sides will pop out as well. Pull the gaiter off over the handle.
Handle assembly is simple, just two bolts in the base and one on the cable. All 10mm. Then remove the sensor clip and it comes out. Fitting is obviously the reverse.
I'm no mechanic but it really is easy.