UPDATE!  February 2020

On February 11th, WCC Planning Applications Sub-Committee unanimously supported the principle of building a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre but REFUSED the application to do so in Victoria Tower Gardens. 

The main issues of planning policy were loss of protected park space, risk to the mature trees and negative impacts on two conservation areas, the World Heritage Site and several listed buildings and monuments (including the Buxton Memorial and Spicer wall).  Here is the summary of the event and decision by WCC:  https://www.westminster.gov.uk/opinion-holocaust-memorial-planning-application

The application will now be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.  An inquiry will spend 12 days in total before making a decision at the end of May.  The cost of legal advice to continue the fight to protect Victoria Tower Gardens is being funded by donations to a CrowdJustice site.  Please give generously to help save this precious park.  Thank you.    https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-victoria-tower-gardens/

Environmental Statement, Our Response - December 2019

We have now submitted our response to the new Environmental Statement documents, submitted by MHCLG/UKHMF in October 2019 as part of the planning process.  To view our response, CLICK HERE


November 2019

The application for planning permission for the Holocaust Memorial has been 'called in' by Esther McVey the Housing Minister. This means that a recommendation will be made by a Planning Inspector following a Public Enquiry; Esther McVey will make the final decision. This seems to have happened at the request of the UKHolocaust Memorial Foundation, who understood that WCC were likely to refuse the scheme. So we have many more months of uncertainly, and probably a great deal of work and expense, ahead.

READ MORE:  6 November 2019: Architects’ Journal, Government calls in Holocaust Memorial planning application


DONATIONS PLEASE !  The Save VTG campaign are desperately in need of funds for publicity and expert advice. Please do give if you havn't done so already, or give again.  You may donate to the Save VTG campaign by making payment to The Thorney Island Society, and send your contribution and Gift Aid form to TTIS, 10 Old Pye Street, London SW1P 2DG, or via BACS to The Thorney Island Society, Lloyds Bank sort code 30-99-50, account 00355214. Many thanks – and remember that you can greatly enhance the value of any contribution by using Gift Aid. (Click here to download Gift Aid form).


May 2019


Amendments to the planning application have been submitted. The changes are to the entrance pavilion and courtyard, but they make no difference to the fundamental problem that we have already identified with the scheme, which is to do with planning policies, loss of green space, diminution of the children's playground etc.  Our previous objections still stand.

The WCC comments page has now been swamped by brief 'support' comments enabled by an agency appointed by the government-run UKHMF.  This makes it all the more important that we all make reasoned objections AGAIN !




Your comments should be specific and can be made online (registration required) CLICK HERE
There is a lot of detail on the SVTG homepage, but we have identified a number of points and reference to at least two or three should be the basis of an objection.  To read these points, click READ MORE below.

In the meantime, safety barriers displaying publicity were put up in Victoria Tower Gardens around holes for geophysic and tree root examinations which display the Royal Parks logo when actually the Royal Parks objected to the scale and location of the memorial plus Learning Centre! 

On TV, 5 ex-prime ministers say it must be sited next to Parliament and never mention that the site chosen is a public riverside park.







Some suggestions for Objections:

Planning policies - this development goes against many national and local Planning Policies – particularly those prohibiting the loss of green space.  Harm to two Conservation areas and the Buxton Memorial.

Green space - The development will cause the loss of a significant amount of green space. It will change from a park to a civic space.

Children - The development will disrupt and reduce the useable size of the children’s playground.

The Memorial will dominate the park and change its intrinsic character.

Overload - the Memorial is projected to multiply the number of park users by 3-4 times at average times and 5 or more at peak times.

Trees - advice is that the excavations are likely to severely damage the two rows of 100 yr-old plane trees, potentially killing them in a few years.

Security - the security measures for the Memorial will be very intrusive for park users and can only get worse in future.

The proposal ignores Westminster City Council’s Monument Saturation Zone Policy.

Traffic and parking - 11 coaches are expected to wait for a total of 3 - 4 hours in the bus and cycle lane. This is dangerous for cyclists.

Pollution - the increased traffic and waiting vehicles will add to pollution, especially in the children’s playground.

Design and Appearance - The Memorial will obviously divide the park in two and its design is incongruous with the prevalent surrounding architectural style.

At the public meeting a local resident said she had taken her Holocaust survivor mother to the park. After a long conversation her mother had said ' a memorial will help us remember many, but parks are for everyone.'


The Planning Application for the Holocaust Memorial and underground Learning Centre was submitted to Westminster Council on 19th December 2018.  The next step is for the Council is to ‘validate’ the application and to assign a Case Officer who will be in charge of the application as a whole, bringing in other team members to advise on specific areas of expertise (conservation, highways, green space etc). 

Until the project is officially validated, it is not possible to examine the actual drawings and documentation submitted.  Once it is validated, the Council has just 13 weeks to determine the case.

Then follows a period of several weeks in which the Council will be seeking opinions from the general public and from a large number of Statutory Consultees (interested parties such as local amenity groups, Historic England, Royal Parks etc).  This is when we will be asking our members and others to write to the Council to state their objections to this project which will drastically alter the gardens and the children's playground and which would be so much more effective if combined with the excellent dedicated galleries at the Imperial War Museum, less than a mile away.


The second and final public consultation and exhibition was held at Church House, 27 Great Smith Street, from 5th to 8th December.  Further information can be found on the Save Victoria Tower Gardens Website www.savevictoriatowergardens.co.uk and on www.londonsociety.org.uk

Click here to view the EXHIBITION BOARDS


As Sir Peter Bottomley said at the Society’s AGM on the 13th November, Victoria Tower Gardens was not initially regarded as suitable for inclusion on the Holocaust Commission shortlist. Suddenly it appeared as the preferred site resulting in the loss of public/green space in the only London park alongside the Thames and adjacent to a World Heritage Site. It will also overshadow the Buxton Memorial Fountain which commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834.


25th May 2018    BBC Radio 4 - Holocaust Memorial plans to be published in the Autumn CLICK HERE  

13th May 2018    UPDATE on the 'Petition Against....' website re. Sir Peter Bazalgette's resignation CLICK HERE


24th October 2017   Read below of the Jury's decision, the winner and what happens now ....

THE GUARDIAN, "Location next to parliament in London has triggered objections from residents and opposition from Imperial War Museum" - CLICK HERE

28th September 2017   Prince William visits the Imperial War Museum to discuss new Holocaust galleries.  Read Daily Mail article, CLICK HERE

21st September 2017  "What the jury heard" - The Architects' Journal 18/9/17  CLICK HERE

18th September 2017  Members of the Thorney Island Society joined a large group of residents who live near Victoria Tower Gardens to discuss the threat to this local park from the proposal to build the new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre there (see earlier blog entries below). Nobody in the room objected in any way to the creation of a new Memorial, and there was tentative agreement that a modest Memorial in the park would be acceptable, but all were united in condemning the proposed site for the Learning Centre. There are many reasons for this, not just the loss of much of the park, but also the added security risk and the increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic in an already congested area.

There are other site options which have been suggested, such as College Green, already a civic space, and St James's Park near the the Duke of York steps. In both places there are existing carparks which could be converted into the Learning Centre. But an easier option, designed and costed, has already been offered to the Foundation and rejected for not very good reasons - to build at the Imperial War Museum, where they are expanding and updating their Holocaust galleries. 
Although people are aware of a large number of influential people who are opposed to the scheme, they are reluctant (for understandable reasons) to oppose it in public. It was suggested that anyone with the right sort of connections should try to use their influence to encourage those people to speak out.

27th April 2017   Due to the announcement of a general election, the Jury has had to be postponed.  The London exhibition has also been postponed and will now take place at the V&A from Saturday 29th July until Tuesday 22nd August and the final decision will take place after this consultation period.

14th April 2017 Article in The Telegraph (Christopher Hope)


12th April 2017  Article on BBC website.  See here

4th April 2017   It is thought that only a major issue like, traffic or security will stop this memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens.  A decision on the chosen scheme will be made by NHMF jury in May.  Still not too late to write to Sir Peter Bazalgetti, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please do!

2nd March 2017   30-40 local residents, interested parties and members of the House of Lords & Commons attended an exhibition in Westminster Hall of the 10 short-listed Architects submissions, followed by a meeting in the House of Lords chaired by Sir Peter Bazalgette of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation.  With over 1,000.00 signatures on the petition now, the Foundation was left in no doubt of our opinions as to why this is the wrong site.  READ MORE on the petition page.

More publicity for our cause, as it was featured in The Times on Saturday 25th February.
Read the article here http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/jewish-peer-criticises-holocaust-memorial-kwh3jjhfn.


9th February 2017    Sir Edward Leigh's adjournment debate in the House of Commons.  Read Hansard transcript here.


To read more and SIGN THE PETITION - CLICK HERE    

Here are some of the comments by those who signed  CLICK HERE


5th February 2017 :  Article in The Observer (Rowan Moore)



4th February 2017 :  Article in The Guardian (Ian Jack)



27th January 2017 - On Holocaust Memorial Day, the Shortlist was announced.  To view  CLICK HERE

The organisers are requesting feedback so if you agree that another location should be found, please write to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One of the submissions on the Shortlist :



Studio Libeskind and Haptic Architects



November 2016

The competition for the design of the Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens will be between ten consortia of architects, engineers and designers - to be judged in the New Year. Meanwhile, rather surprisingly, the Imperial War Museum is raising funds to renew and expand their Holocaust Exhibition. It seems to us that it might make sense to locate the Learning Centre there, even if the memorial itself is located somewhere more central.




January 2015 -  David Cameron made an announcement on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation that there was to be a new Holocaust Memorial and associated Learning Centre built in central London.

At that stage three particular sites were proposed: the Imperial War Museum, near London City Hall, and the Millbank Tower podium. In July of this year we were approached by a PR company about a proposal to site the memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens (VTG). This, we assumed, would combine with a Learning Centre at the Millbank Tower, which now has planning permission for conversion to mainly residential use with a cultural/arts complex in the podium.

Various meetings were arranged and then postponed by the Foundation. It was therefore with considerable surprise that we learnt that the announcement was to be made imminently and, when it came, that it was in the form of an announcement of an international competition, that the site had now been selected, and that it was proposed that the whole project was to be built in the VTG. The Learning Centre is to be underground, with a prominent monument somewhere on the central grass area of the park.

The Society is obviously very concerned at the loss of this valuable small park, because it is very difficult to imagine that a project of this size and importance would not dominate the space and transform it from a tranquil local park to a busy civic space. We do not object in any way to the building of a memorial, but we feel that there are more appropriate sites, already proposed as well as not yet considered.

For more details:

The Holocaust Memorial Commission Report is https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-holocaust-commission-report

The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation's webpage is at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-holocaust-memorial-foundation


The document inviting expressions of interest from tenderers is at


The draft design brief itself is at  





 The Victoria Tower Gardens & The National Holocaust Memorial