Jenrick facing High Court action over handling of Shoah memorial planning application

High Court action being brought by the London Gardens Trust


Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick faces a High Court action brought by the London Gardens Trust on his handling of the planning application for the Westminster Holocaust Memorial.

The High Court will evaluate whether it is appropriate for Mr Jenrick to delegate the decision on the application for the Memorial and Learning Centre to his Christopher Pincher, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Solicitor Richard Buxton, who is representing the London Gardens Trust, told the JC: “The issue for the High Court is whether Mr Pincher, the decision-maker, is lawfully insulated from his boss, Mr Jenrick, who has applied for planning permission.  We don’t think so.”

Lawyers for the Trust, who wish to stop the Memorial, have called for a Judicial Review.  

But another source told the JC that the government's legal positon was quite clear and was long established before Mr Jenrick's tenure.

They added that as the Communities Secretary is the applicant a different minister acts as Secretary of State and makes any planning decisions that may be required.

The case will be heard by Mr Justice Holgate at the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division and the government has been asked to submit its evidence by 10am on Friday.

Last November, the project was called in by then Housing Minister Esther McVey, after Mr Jenrick, her boss, recused himself because he had publicly backed the memorial.  

Mr Jenrick first sought planning permission in January 2019 after former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission, led by former Jewish Leadership Council chair Sir Mick Davis, recommended a national memorial.

The decision stripped Westminster Council of its power to rule on the £102m project – which was to be built in Victoria Tower Gardens - a grade II listed park near the Palace of Westminster.

 London Parks and Gardens Trust claims Mr Jenrick and his staff cannot be impartial.

The Trust has played a leading role in the opposition to the plan to build the memorial on “the last piece of publicly accessible land in central London”.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has said the final decision will be made “independently” by the new housing minister, Mr Pincher, following a public inquiry.

Successive prime ministers, including Theresa May, has maintained that the memorial would be built in Victoria Towers Gardens, and the current Conservative government even made support for the memorial a manifesto commitment.

Baroness Deech is one of several Jewish peers to have expressed her objections to the memorial proposals, arguing that the £100 million should be spent on Holocaust education instead.

In February, Mr Jenrick attacked the “naysayers” on the Westminster Holocaust Memorial project and insisted they “will not succeed”. 

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