Holocaust memorial to be built next to Parliament

Holocaust Memorial in Westminster
A rendering of the previous plan for a Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens

A national Holocaust memorial will be built next to Parliament, the government has pledged.

As part of the King's Speech, it was confirmed the Holocaust Memorial Bill would return to the next session of Parliament.

The move is to to tackle antisemitism in the wake of the Israel-Gaza war.

A vow to build a Holocaust memorial and learning centre was first made in 2015 but the plan ran into difficulties due to a 1900 law protecting the land.

Planning permission was granted in July 2021 to build on Victoria Tower Gardens in central London after a public inquiry and the recommendations made by planning inspector David Morgan.

It was challenged in the High Court by the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust, which argued against building the centre on the small triangular Grade II-listed park to the south of Parliament.

The London County Council (Improvements) Act 1900 required the land to be used as a public park.

The Bill intends to update the legislation, removing the legal obstacle that has prevented the project from going ahead.

It would also give the government powers to use public funding to build and operate the centre.

The site is also home to an anti-slavery monument.

The centre's site, next to what is seen as the heart of British democracy, is deliberately intended to act as a public reminder of the Holocaust and its victims.

Its design will be sensitive to the heritage and current uses of the gardens, the government said, and will take up around 7.5% of the park.

But speaking during the Commons debate on the King's Speech on Tuesday, Conservative MP and Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley reiterated his objection to the current plans.

He said he wanted a memorial which "meets the task" but avoided "taking over so much of Victoria Tower Gardens".

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