Westminster Holocaust memorial is approved

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has given the much-debated project the green light


Plans for a national Holocaust memorial to be built next to Parliament have been approved by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher.   

The decision comes in the wake of a public inquiry into the project, which was chaired by a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government planning inspector.

The memorial, set to be built in Milbank’s Victoria Tower Gardens, will commemorate the lives of six million Jews murdered in the Shoah.

The structure will comprise 23 large bronze fins and an underground education centre. 

Plans for a memorial were first proposed by the Cameron government in 2016 but in February last year Westminster City Council’s planning committee voted unanimously against the idea. 

The proposals were then put by the government to a public inquiry, which took place online in October 2020. 

Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick championed the cause, alongside Lord Eric Pickles, Parliamentary Chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel.

More than 170 MPs and peers also voiced support for the memorial, including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who described the estimated £100 million project as “vital”. 

Parliamentarians across the UK representing constituencies with large Jewish populations have welcomed the news.

Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: “It is incredibly welcome news that the proposed UK Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens has been approved, and I look forward to visiting when it is completed. Recent events in my constituency have shown that there is still too much antisemitism in our society.”

“In the near future, the personal living testament of the survivors will be lost.  I hope that this memorial serves as a permanent reminder of why we must stand against antisemitism and racism in all its forms, wherever it is found.”

Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South, told the JC: "I'm delighted that this decision has finally been made. With the number of Holocaust survivors reducing every year it is right that we educate future generations on the horrors of the Shoah so that this evil is never repeated."

Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North East, told the JC: “Most members of the Jewish community in this country had relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust, so it’s appropriate that they are remembered in a memorial next to Parliament.

“As those survivors who personally experienced the horrors leave us, it’s essential we continue to educate future generations on the dangers of antisemitism and where it can lead. Initiatives such as this are the right way to achieve that aim.”

Lord Ian Austin and Bob Blackman MP, Co-Chairs of the APPG on Holocaust Memorial said: "This is excellent news. The Holocaust was a defining episode in history and something we all should know about and remember. The Memorial and Learning Centre right next to Parliament will allow us to examine the Holocaust through British eyes; to bear witness to the more than six million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazis and the millions of other victims of Nazi persecution; and honour the testimony of our brave and beloved Holocaust survivors who settled in this country as well as recognise those British individuals who took enormous risks to help save Jewish lives.

"We very much hope that people across the UK will visit the Memorial and learn where hatred and racism can lead, and seeing Parliament next door, will understand the importance of our democracy, our  values of freedom, equality and fairness, and the institutions which underpin them."

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "As the Holocaust moves from living memory to history, there could not be a more important time to build this Memorial, in the shadow of Parliament, as a reminder for generations to come of what happened when antisemitism and hatred were able to flourish. This Memorial and Learning Centre will be an important addition to the excellent foundations of Holocaust education and remembrance already established in this country and will help to ensure the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come. 

"The Holocaust is part of our shared history that everyone should know about and remember, and I’m proud that this UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is going to be built at the very heart of our democracy."

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