National Holocaust museum plans face rejection

The museum has gone through several sets of plans

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Proposals for a £100 million Holocaust museum next to Parliament look set to be refused.

Westminster City Council has informed those behind the project, proposed for Victoria Tower Gardens, it is "heading towards an unfavourable recommendation" by planning officials.

A letter, seen by talkRADIO, explains this is due to a "range" of issues, which had drawn a "significant number of objections".

The proposal launched in 2015 and attracted a £75 million pledge from the government, but it has faced criticism by UNESCO, Historic England and The Royal Parks.

Campaign group Save Victoria Tower Gardens (SVTG) has welcomed the planning news.

SVTG's Babara Weiss said: "There are so many elements of politics that are intruding on this sad affair but this shows we can rely on Westminster's professionalism to back up our arguments."

Opponents argue vanity is behind the wish to locate the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament and that more appropriate locations exist, including the Imperial War Museum one mile away.

A Westminster City Council spokesperson said: "This application, like all that come before the authority, will be made on planning grounds after careful assessment of all the representations received. No decision has been taken."

talkRADIO has approached the Holocaust Memorial Foundation for comment.

In May 2019 the government committed an additional £25m to the £50m it had pledged.

Then-Prime Minister Theresa May said: "By putting our National Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre next to our Parliament, we make a solemn and eternal promise that Britain will never forget what happened in the Holocaust."

It came weeks after campaigners told talkRADIO plans for the project were in a "huge mess".

Revised proposals include a smaller underground area and altered designs for the entrance pavilion, courtyard and surrounding landscaping.

The ministry of housing, communities and local government spokesperson added: "The proposals have been developed with great sensitivity to the existing context and character of Victoria Gardens."

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