A plan to construct a national Holocaust memorial next to the British parliament is being challenged by several London groups.
An appeal to block the plan for the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Center will be heard by the High Court on Tuesday, the UK Jewish News reported.
The decision to go ahead with construction was made by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher in August 2021.
The memorial will be be built in Victoria Tower Gardens, a green space between the Houses of Parliament, the River Thames and the Milibank and Lambeth bridges. It will be built out of 23 giant bronze fins and also include an underground education centre. The memorial was supported by over 170 MPs, including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who described the project as “vital,” according to BBC News.
One of the groups contesting the plan, Gardens Trust, said that they are taking issue with the memorial being built in a green area.
“London’s parks give everyone space to reflect, relax and play – they should not be built on, but protected. UK Holocaust education and this historic environment deserve better than this scheme,” Helen Monger, director of The Gardens Trust told the news outlet.
Another group, Save Victoria Towers Gardens, called the plan an “ill-conceived scheme” that was “steamrolled” into passage by the government, and alleged there was not proper consultation with the public.
The appeal in the High Court to block construction will involve a claim that the new monument will impact an already existing memorial to the 1834 Abolition of Slavery and will also argue that using the Imperial War Museum as a site should have been investigated.
The memorial is set to open in 2024 and would be free to the public as a place to reflect on the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust and other victims of the Nazis.
"There will be something uniquely powerful about locating a memorial to the Holocaust right next to the centre of the UK's democracy,” Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told the BBC in August. "The messages and learnings that one should glean from its memorialization are a powerful reminder of the universal values of fairness and justice that a democratic society has the responsibility to bestow upon its citizens."