London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the Westminster Council to back plans to construct a Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens.
“I have previously expressed my fear however that these plans would be rejected,” wrote Khan in a letter to the council. “I therefore urge Westminster City Council not to reject these plans and instead enable this hugely important national memorial to take its rightful place in the heart of the capital and close to the seat of national government.”
“Let us at least agree that everybody understands the importance of the Holocaust Memorial and its importance to Britain for our understanding of history and the experience of so many of our Jewish citizens,” said mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey in a statement. “Instead of fighting pointlessly over this site, or potentially bending planning law, why not work together to have a politics-free discussion about the feasibility of this site, or even a discussion over a potential new site that respects the aims of those who wish to memorialise this brutal episode. We owe it to the victims of the Holocaust to find a solution to this impasse.”
Opponents of the proposed memorial have stated that it would be in the wrong location and block views of the park’s gardens, a UNESCO world heritage site.
“The mayor is the latest politician trying to bludgeon this unpopular project through despite growing misgivings within the Jewish community about its effectiveness at tackling anti-Semitism and the environmental concerns of the Royal Parks and UNESCO,” said Clare Annamalai of Save Victoria Tower Gardens. “Westminster Council is simply trying to apply planning law. The mayor is playing political games.”
The memorial plan is expected to be rejected.