The charity that manages London’s royal parks has officially objected to Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects’ proposals to build a Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens
A planning application has been submitted to Westminster Council for the memorial and learning centre, which is proposed for the small park near the Houses of Parliament.
But the Royal Parks is opposing the plans, arguing the site is not an ‘appropriate location’ for the project given the impact it will have on a public amenity space in an area of London with few green spaces.
The objection letter submitted to the London authority reads: ‘Overall the sombre nature of the memorial, the large structure and the necessary security measures around the curtilage of the Victoria Tower Gardens will change the nature of what is currently a relaxed park alongside a unique riverside location.’
It is the latest blow for the government-backed memorial project which has faced significant opposition from local residents who argue the memorial will ‘destroy a treasured park’.
Save Victoria Gardens (SVTG) has led the campaign against the project, with 529 objections now lodged with Westminster’s planning authorities.
Last week David Adjaye infuriated opponents of the project by arguing that ‘disrupting’ the pleasure of being in a park is key to its thinking.
Defending the project in The Times, Adjaye said he was ‘excited’ about the site, which he said had already been turned into a ‘memorial garden’ with monuments to the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage.
‘We have the opportunity to activate the entire site and talk directly to parliament, hold it accountable,’ he said. ‘Disrupting the pleasure of being in a park is key to the thinking.’
The project has also faced criticism from Jewish peers who wrote to the The Times in October, arguing that the scheme ‘evokes neither the Holocaust nor Jewish history’.
Last week a spokesperson for the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation admitted the plans would ‘provoke and challenge’ visitors to think about the impact of the Holocaust on our society, culture and Parliament.
The design for the government-backed project includes 23 bronze fins, an entrance pavilion and an underground learning centre which will aim to improve visitors’ understanding of the Holocaust and its impact on Britain.
FINAL: Designs for Adjaye Associates’ Holocaust Memorial in Westminster