Holocaust Memorial planning decision taken out of hands of local council

Housing Minister Esther McVey says decision on National Holocaust Memorial will go to Planning Inspectorate


The decision on whether to approve a National Holocaust Memorial in Westminster has been taken out of the hands of the local council and will now be settled nationally.

Housing Minister Esther McVey has used her powers to “call in” the application for the £100 million project and refer it to the Planning Inspectorate.

Westminster Council had been expected to discuss the application two months ago amid intense lobbying for and against it but no date was scheduled.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said, “A public inquiry will be held and overseen by an independent planning inspector. The Minister will make the final decision on the application taking into account the inspector’s recommendation.”

Applications are generally only called in on projects of national significance.

Lord Pickles and Ed Balls, co-chairs of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation, recently wrote to the Robert Jenrick, the new Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, asking for the application to be decided centrally.

“We have no doubt that Westminster City Council will consider the application in a professional and impartial manner,” they said.

“Yet the level of national interest suggests to us that it would not be appropriate or reasonable to expect the local authority to determine the planning application.”

The government has pledged to meet half the cost of the project, with the rest covered by fundraising.

Objectors to the scheme have argued that its location in Victoria Tower Gardens near Parliament would spoil a public green space.

A spokesman for Westminster Council said, “We’ve been clear to date that we would consider the scheme on its merits and in line with our planning policy. We await further information from the Planning Inspectorate on the proposed call-in process and will play our part as necessary.”

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said, "Given its significance, and importance now more than ever, it is right that this application will be decided nationally.”


Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive