Government lodges appeal against decision to block Westminster Holocaust memorial

The High Court denied the structure planning permission earlier this month


The government has today lodged an appeal against the High Court decision to block the planned national Holocaust Memorial next to the Houses of Parliament, in the latest twist to the long-running planning battle.

At the start of April, a legal challenge to the £100 million project succeeded as a judge quashed planning permission for the memorial and learning centre.

Mrs Justice Thornton ruled there was “an enduring obligation to retain the new garden land as a public garden and integral part of the existing Victoria Tower Gardens”.

She said the structure would represent an, “exceptionally serious intrusion into a green public open space of the highest heritage significance.”

Announcing the government’s appeal today, a spokesperson for the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities department said: “We remain completely committed to constructing the Memorial at this location, which was carefully selected to reflect its national significance - next to Parliament and close to other important memorials including the Cenotaph.   

“We owe a lasting memorial not just to Holocaust survivors, but to the British people now and for generations to come”.

They said the lack of a prominent memorial to the Shoah in Britain has been a source of concern for many survivors and their families. 

The government is determined to deliver on a ‘Promise to Remember’, they added, in a reference to a 2015 cross-party report that initially proposed the memorial.

The structure is backed by the Board of Deputies and the Chief Rabbi, but opposed by many others within the community.

Responding to the High Court ruling, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue said: "We know from the resurgence of anti-semitism in countries abroad with powerful Holocaust museums, that buildings do not change minds: it will be far better for the UK to use the £100 million to have an education programme in schools nationally than a London-centric memorial.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: "Many hope to see the opening of the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre standing proudly next to Parliament, serving as a warning from history of what can happen when antisemitism and hate is left unchecked. This memorial will stand as a reminder for generations to come.”

The UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, initially set to open in 2024, would commemorate the 6 million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust, alongside the Roma, gay people and the disabled.

The Learning Centre would also seek to reflect on subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

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