Record of Events

05/10/21 LGT responds to arguments by Minister and Secretary of State

The Trust submits a final response to the Courts and awaits a date for the hearing.

30/09/21 SOS issues Grounds to Challenge and shares with LGT late

On 27th September the Secretary of State also submits a challenge but fails to notify the Trust until 30th September. The Secretary of State demands an urgent hearing arguing there is no case to answer.

27/09/21 Minister submits Grounds of Resistance to the Courts

The Minister and defendant in the case submit their response to the Trust’s Claim.

24/09/21 Learning for the Righteous seeks active role in Court

The Learning for the Righteous submit papers to the High Court. They are an interested party supporting Government, making representations about the need for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre at Victoria Tower Gardens. Their full submission is here. The arguments put forward do not focus on the core concerns of the Trust.

07/09/21 LGT issues Claim in High Court to avoid being timed out

The Trust submits papers to the High Court seeking legal redress as the Government has refused to respond to any of its requests submitted on 22nd August. There are five grounds presented to the court focussing on the protection of historic landscapes, and the need to address a previous Act of Parliament.

06/09/21 Minister responds to PAP

The Minister for procedural reasons delays giving response until the last minute. The letter available here refuses to disclose the requested information and declines to withdraw the decision.

22/08/21 LGT issues Pre-Application Protocol Letter (PAP)

The Trust issues a Pre-application Protocol (PAP) letter, despite being under no obligation to do so in order to seek Government withdrawal from this project and new information. The letter available here gives details of the grounds of a potential claim in the Hight Court.

29/07/21 Minister releases his decision giving approval for construction to go ahead.

Christopher Pincher MP, Minister for Housing issued his decision, supported by recommendations from the Planning Inspector. The full report is available here. The Trust is considering whether to Appeal the decision with lawyers within the next 6 weeks.

1/02/21 Information Commissioner’s Office Tribunal Judgment blocks the release of information

The judgement is available here. An Appeal has been launched.

7/01/21 Information Commissioner’s Office Tribunal considers case brought by fellow Rule 6 objector seeking release of information by the Government

Dorian Gerhold a fellow Rule 6 objector and author of a history on Victoria Tower Gardens submits a case seeking release of information he had requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Previously the Government had refused to release information about the meetings which decided the location of the Memorial at Victoria Tower Gardens contrary to previous professional searches. His statement is available here.

6/10/20 to 13/11/20 (16 sitting days) Virtual Planning Inquiry takes place with London Gardens Trust as a Rule 6 objector

The London Gardens Trust was represented by legal counsel, Meyric Lewis, alongside other fellow Rule 6 objectors; The Thorney Island Society, Save Victoria Tower Gardens, and Baroness Deech. On behalf of the Trust Sally Prothero, Chair of the London Gardens Trust Planning and Conservation Working Group, submitted a proof of evidence; and Hal Moggridge, Patron of the Trust also submitted a proof of evidence. As leading witnesses they were both cross-examined on their evidence. A plethora of other valuable contributions were submitted from a variety of Interested Parties and witnesses. One of the Interested Parties was Dr David Lambert, who wrote a submission on behalf of the Gardens Trust and then gave oral evidence about the importance of Historic landscape and its protections. Meyric Lewis on behalf of the Trust provided a Closing Statement explaining that the proposals will irreversibly change and substantially harm the character of the consciously designed Grade II Registered Park and Garden. “They would turn a calm green garden space into a cluttered, visually and physically congested and urbanised “landscape” to the substantial detriment of its special amenity and character”. The Trust now awaits the recommendation of the Planning Inspector who is currently anticipated to submit his report to the Secretary of State by the end of April 2021. 

2/10/20: High Court Judgment finds Government’s Handling Arrangements should have been published and did not provide sufficient legal certainty.

The full Judgment is here. LGT feels vindicated in having taken this to the High Court but unfortunately this does not rule out the Minister for Housing taking the final decision. We submitted a request to the Court of Appeal to challenge this decision but were refused leave. We maintain that it can not be right for the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government as Applicant to nominate their own decision-maker and one of their junior ministers as an independent arbitrator in this case.

9/9/20 and 10/9/20: The Trust appears in the High Court as the Claimant in a Judicial Review

An article summarising the case by Joshua Rosenberg is available here. The Trust’s ability to take the case to the courts was courtesy of generous benefactors and the many donors from our Crowdjustice campaign. A Planning Inquiry is scheduled to start in early October.

18/5/20: The Government Legal Department responds to the Trust and refuses again to reconsider the process for an impartial decision

The Government Legal Department’s letter stresses that they disagree with the Trust’s views over conflict of interest and intend to continue with the current decision-making arrangements, reserving their right to overrule any recommendation by the Planning Inspector.

11/5/20: The Trust writes to the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government and the Minister for Housing

The Trust explains it is unsatisfied with the response and sets out its full rational for considering a Judicial Review of the process.

16/4/20: The Government Legal Department responds refusing the Trust’s request

The Government Legal Department’s letter refuses the Trust’s request and argues there is no bias or concerns over the procedure. By refusing the Trust’s request, the Government has forced a 6 week timetable to seek legal remedy from the High Court.

31/3/20: LPGT writes to the Minister of Housing to seek an independent decision-maker

At the pre-planning inquiry meeting, the Trust is informed that the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government is seeking to retain the final decision-making potentially overuling the recommendations of the Planning Inspector. The Trust asks the Minister of Housing to provide an independent alternative.

2/20 Presentation to Westminster City Council

Our presentation to Westminster City Council

11/2/20: Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously agrees to refuse planning permission for this project.

This was in the light of numerous presentations including from the Trust. Our Chair of Planning spoke at the meeting – read her speech

11/20: Update from LPGT

Victoria Tower Gardens Update

6/11/19: UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre called in without a decision from Westminster City Council

Westminster City Council Planning Committee had been expected to discuss the application two months ago amid intense lobbying for and against it but the date was put back.  Then on 6th November just as the Government was being prorogued an MHCLG spokesperson announced that: ’The housing minister [Esther McVey] has used powers under Section 77 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act to call-in the planning application for the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.

’A public inquiry will be held and overseen by an independent planning inspector. The minister will make the final decision on the application taking into account the inspector’s recommendation.’

6/2/19: LPGT submits objection to the Victoria Tower Gardens planning application

The Trust has now submitted its objection to the UK Holocaust Memorial proposals. You can download our full objection letter including plans and read the conservation and significance statement online. To submit your own objection, please visit the Westminster Council Planning site – you can read the guidelines online

4/2/19: LPGT calculations show that 26.9% of grass will be lost in the Gardens

The Trust’s planning group has calculated that, while 7.1% of the park will be taken up by the Memorial, entrance pavilion and courtyard, the total amount of grass area that would be lost is 26.9%. This figure does not include any additional areas of grass that might end up fenced off due to safety concerns at a later date.

View the plan to see how recreational green space will be affected by the development. 

22/1/19: How to ensure your objection relates to planning matters

The Save Victoria Tower Gardens campaign team has published guidelines on some of the planning issues you might like to consider if you submit an objection to the application via the Westminster Council Planning site – you can read the guidelines online. Comments don’t have to be long, but they should mention one or more planning-related issues.

18/1/19: Details from Baroness Deech’s Parliamentary Questions, December 2018

The following question was posed to Parliament (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service) by Baroness Deech on 14 December 2018:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the estimated cost of (1) building, and (2) running the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre; and how these costs will be met.”

It was answered by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 20 December 2018: 

“The estimated cost of building the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is £102 million (including VAT). Future running costs are estimated to be around £5 – 6 million per annum. In 2015, the Government committed £50 million to the cost of establishing the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. It is also the intention that further contributions towards the costs will come from a national fundraising effort. Options for providing future financial support are being explored and a sustainable long-term plan will be put in place.”

15/1/19: Public Meetings planned by Save Victoria Tower Gardens for 22 January

The Trust has been working with local groups concerned about the proposals, and they are holding an open meeting on Tuesday 22 January from 6.30 to 9pm in the church at St Matthew’s Westminster, 20 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2BU. All are welcome. 

9/1/19: News on the Trust’s Freedom of Information request

The Trust made contact with the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government seeking the results of an Arboricultural Survey which were not disclosed at the time of public consultation, but which would have enabled a better gauge on the full heritage impacts particularly of the Root Protection Area. MHCLG failed to provide the information in a timely fashion in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and so the Trust Director has reported the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

3/2017 Statement from LPGT

Public parks under threat – Victoria Tower Gardens