Westminster Holocaust Memorial plans to be scaled down amid concerns it would 'dominate' Victoria Gardens

The memorial has wide support among politicians but heritage and environmental groups have objected


The architects of Westminster's Holocaust Memorial are to produce a smaller design of the proposed building after concerns it would "dominate" the green space by parliament it is set to be built on.

Architects David Adjaye and Ron Arad are revising the plans for the Memorial and Learning Centre, which includes an underground learning centre.

The plans were submitted to Westminster Council for approval but triggered concerns from heritage and environmental groups.

The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF) will then submit a fresh application.

In a letter, the body said: “The revised application follows a comprehensive period of consultation in which hundreds of residents in Westminster, and further afield, have responded both positively and negatively to the application.

“UKHMF has listened carefully during the consultation, and the revised proposals are a response to some of the comments received in addition to those received from statutory consultees.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed it had submitted “revised plans to Westminster City Council following a comprehensive public consultation and discussion with local residents, Holocaust experts, survivors, Westminster City Council, Historic England, Royal Parks and other statutory consultees.

“This is a standard practice following a public consultation and the revised plans take on the concerns raised by local residents and statutory consultees.”

The new plans are expected to include a smaller entrance pavilion and courtyard.

Bodies such as the Royal Parks, Historic England and the International Council on Monuments and Sites - which advises Unesco - objected to the original plans. ICOMAS said it feared it would "dominate".

Architect Barbara Weiss, who designed the refurbishment of the Wiener Library, told the Architect's Journal: “The consequences of a resubmission will cause massive delays, cost a fortune in terms of taxpayers’ money for abortive work, and create havoc for everyone involved.

“This complete failure to think through the first application is a clear consequence of the lack of listening that has been the hallmark of this ill-fated project.”

A total of 174 MPs and peers have signed a letter in support of the plans, including Luciana Berger, the Jewish MP who left Labour over antisemitic bullying, and Lord Dubs, the Labour peer, Kindertransportee and refugee rights advocate.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also intervened to voice his “deep concern” that plans for the Memorial could be rejected.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis intervened to support the plans, saying we must “learn lessons from the past”, urging the plans' opponents to take a “fresh look” at the proposals.

Westminster Council has been forced to remove antisemitic comments from its online consultation on the plans, including ones about a "well-funded Holocaust industry" and Jewish people's "special privileges".

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