Holocaust memorial plans outside Parliament turned down

The High Court has slapped down plans to build a Holocaust memorial outside the Houses of Parliament, writes Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter.

The London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust has won its case after arguing the project is the “right idea, wrong place” and that the planning process was flawed.

At a hearing in February, the trust argued there was an “unlawful” approach to the consideration of alternative sites and the new memorial would impact the Grade-II listed park and detract from other monuments in the area like the Buxton Memorial, which celebrates the abolition of slavery.

The Government’s lawyers argued the decision-making process was not flawed and planning policy had not been “misinterpreted or misapplied”.

In a ruling issued on Friday, Mrs Justice Thornton said the trust’s case succeeded in terms of its arguments about planning law.

She said the act “imposes an enduring obligation” to keep land “as a public garden and integral part of the existing Victoria Tower Gardens”.

She added: “Accordingly, the appropriate remedy is to quash the decision, so as to enable further consideration of the implications of the London County Council (Improvements) Act 1900 for the proposed scheme.”

The decision to grant planning permission for the memorial was called-in by the Government in November 2019 and it was approved by then-planning minister Chris Pincher in July.

Westminster City Council had originally opposed the plans as well as former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The new memorial is set to open in 2024 to remember the six million people murdered in the Holocaust under Nazi rule and create a space to reflect on genocides that have taken place since.

Former PM David Cameron announced the plans in 2016.

The design includes an underground learning centre that would be free to visit.

Around £75 million of public money has already been spent on construction with £25 million expected to come from charitable donations.

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