Westminster Holocaust memorial is approved

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 enquiry 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 enquiry, which took place online in October 2020.

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.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has welcomed  the decision of Housing Minister Christopher Pincher to grant planning permission for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.”

She said:  “I am delighted that the Minister of State has granted planning permission for the memorial.

“As I said to the inquiry, there will be something uniquely powerful about locating a memorial to the Holocaust right next to the centre of the UK’s democracy. Whilst the Holocaust was a particular crime against Jewish people, the Nazis also viciously persecuted Roma, gay and disabled people, and this memorial will speak to that. The messages and learnings that one should glean from its memorialisation are a powerful reminder of the universal values of fairness and justice that a democratic society has the responsibility to bestow upon its citizens.”

“We look forward to the time that our fellow citizens and guests from abroad will be able to visit the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, to learn more about this dark period of genocidal intolerance, and come away determined to play their part in a better, more peaceful and more inclusive future.”

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