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Holocaust memorial at Westminster gets government go-ahead after rejection overturned

Written by on 29/07/2021

The government has given the go-ahead for a Holocaust memorial and education centre to be built next to parliament following a public inquiry.

Plans for the structure, which is due to be built on the green next to the Palace of Westminster, were previously rejected by Westminster Council.

But following a six-week public inquiry in 2020, the decision has been overturned.

Holocaust Memorial site
Image: Some campaign groups had set out objections to the proposed location

Some campaign groups had rejected the proposals to build the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre (UKHMLC) in Victoria Tower Gardens to mark the horrors of the Nazi regime against minority groups.

Six million Jews were systematically murdered during the genocide.

One of those campaign groups, named Save Victoria Gardens, said they are “deeply disappointed” with the decision and are “considering our next steps” with lawyers.

But housing and planning minister Chris Pincher agreed with planning inspector David Morgan that the application should be accepted as the location would send “a powerful associative message”.

“The minister of state further agrees with the inspector’s conclusion that the location of the UKHMLC adjacent to the Palace of Westminster can rightly be considered a public benefit of great importance, meriting considerable weight in the heritage and planning balance,” a decision letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said.

The document states that Mr Morgan found alternative locations – Potters Fields Park near Tower Bridge and a site next to Millbank Tower – not to be suitable.

It says that while there would be a “modest loss of open space” within Victoria Gardens if the memorial was erected there, the positives of the location make the project worth it.

Holocaust Memorial
Image: The memorial is due to open in 2024

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was “delighted” the memorial has been given the green light.

Its president, Marie van der Zyl, said: “I am delighted that the minister of state has granted planning permission for the memorial.

“As I said to the inquiry, there will be something uniquely powerful about locating a memorial to the Holocaust right next to the centre of the UK’s democracy.

“Whilst the Holocaust was a particular crime against Jewish people, the Nazis also viciously persecuted Roma, gay and disabled people, and this memorial will speak to that.”

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Remembering Holocaust a ‘task for all generations’

The government says the venue will be free to visit alongside other significant museums and monuments in the UK.

Some £75m of public money has already been set aside towards construction costs, with another £25m to come from charitable donations.

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Holocaust survivors walk into Auschwitz

The government has said the centre will allow people to remember those murdered in the Holocaust and other victims of Nazi persecution, while also providing a place for reflection on “subsequent genocides”.

The memorial is due to open in 2024.

 Sky News

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