The open space and important historic monuments of Victoria Tower Gardens, registered at Grade II, remain under threat as the proposal to site a new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre there has been called in to a planning inquiry. The Gardens Trust wholeheartedly endorses the idea of the new Holocaust Memorial, but has serious reservations about siting it in this park, when more suitable sites exist.
The planning application to site the Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens was turned down unanimously by Westminster Council on 11 February. Unusually, back in November, before Westminster had made their decision, the minister announced a planning inquiry which will take place at the end of May. The Gardens Trust is working closely with the London Parks and Gardens Trust (LPGT) who have prepared a comprehensive statement of significance detailing exactly what is at risk. This can be downloaded from the LPGT web page. Its author Sally Prothero and LPGT Patron Hal Moggridge will be appearing at the inquiry on behalf of LPGT and the GT.
The proposed scheme will have a damaging impact on many aspects of Victoria Tower Gardens, affecting its use as a park, the setting of important existing monuments and views of the adjacent Houses of Parliament, which is a World Heritage Site.
The areas of concern cited in the letter sent in response to the inquiry by Dr Marion Harney, Chair of our Conservation Committee, include:
While in principle we would like to support the project to build a Holocaust Memorial and Visitor Centre on a more suitable site, we strongly object to the current proposal for this site in Victoria Tower Gardens.