The proposed National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre has been given the green light to be constructed in Westminster. A victory for all those who campaigned in support of this important project.

The decision was announced on Thursday by Minister of Housing and Planning, Christopher Pincher.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s decision letter said the minister “agrees with the inspector that the location next to the Palace of Westminster would offer a powerful associative message in itself, which is consistent with that of the memorial of its immediate and wider context”.

It added: “The minister of state further agrees with the inspector’s conclusion that the location of the UKHMLC adjacent to the Palace of Westminster can rightly be considered a public benefit of great importance, meriting considerable weight in the heritage and planning balance.”

The report accepted that there would be a “modest loss of open space and functionality within” Victoria Tower Gardens but found the positives of the location outweighed the negatives in building the memorial there.

The memorial will be constructed in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament. It comes in the wake of a public enquiry into the project – which had sparked lengthy debate over its location, impact, and size. There was strong opposition to the project and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick even received death threats after he gave his overwhelming support.

Thankfully this opposition has been overcome.

The memorial will be constructed in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament. Construction is set to begin later this year and is expected to open in 2024. The government has also pledged that the centre would have free entry to all.

We want to give credit to all those organisations who defended this important project, including the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

They all worked tirelessly to achieve this positive outcome.

Christians United for Israel has campaigned in support of this memorial for the past two years with over 15,000 people signing CUFI’s petition in support of building the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. We are grateful to everyone who took part in supporting our campaign.

CUFI UK Director Des Starritt said, “We welcome this tremendous announcement and look forward to seeing this project become a reality over the next few years. To honour those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, we must learn from the mistakes of the past. This memorial is an important step in educating present and future generations to ensure these lessons of history are not forgotten.”

Starritt added, “The location of the memorial and learning centre will act as a continual reminder to those in seats of power at Westminster that they have a tremendous responsibility to stand against anti-Semitism.”

Holocaust Educational Trust’s Karen Pollock welcomed the decision to build the memorial saying: “As the Holocaust moves from living memory there could not be a more important time to build this Memorial in the shadow of Parliament, as a reminder for generations to come of what happened when antisemitism was allowed to flourish.”

The Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl said she was “delighted” with the decision.

“It will be a powerful reminder of the universal values of fairness and justice that a democratic society has the responsibility to bestow upon its citizens,” van der Zyl said.

“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,” she added.

Sir Ben Helfgott, Holocaust survivor, Olympian, and Holocaust Educational Trust Honorary Patron said: “Holocaust survivors like me came to the UK after liberation, and we made Britain our home; British forces liberated my sister at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The Holocaust is part of British history.

“I am proud that the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is being built, in the heart of our country, so it can be visited by millions. I know that long after I, and the other survivors, are gone, the UK will continue to remember the Holocaust and learn what happens when hatred reigned.”

MP Robert Jenrick said he was “delighted that the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning centre has been granted planning permission.”

“This will ensure we never forget the tragedy of the Holocaust. And will educate generations to come about where hatred and racism lead if we don’t stand against it,” he added.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also supported the project and said Thursday he was “proud to have been part of the cross-party judging panel for this hugely important UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre – which will remind each and everyone one of us of our duty to stand up and speak out against prejudice, oppression and injustice wherever it may be found.”

Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council Jonathan Goldstein said: “Today’s announcement that the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre has been given the go-ahead is a welcome one.

“This cross-party supported centre at the heart of our democracy will help ensure the legacy and memory of the Holocaust is preserved.

“It will serve as a reminder of where unchecked hatred can lead.”

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