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Written Question
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service: Victoria Tower Gardens
Thursday 4th January 2024

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government what response they made to the request by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee that the plan to build a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens on the Westminster World Heritage site be abandoned; and what discussions they had with the World Heritage Committee at its meeting in 2023 about that matter.

Answered by Baroness Scott of Bybrook - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government noted that the independent planning inspector concluded, following an extensive public inquiry in 2020, that “…the proposed UKHMLC would not result in compromise to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site because it does not harm it or its setting, thus conserving it”. DCMS, acting as State Party to the World Heritage Convention, will continue to keep UNESCO updated.


Written Question
Victoria Tower Gardens
Wednesday 20th December 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government what options they are considering for the future management of the parts of Victoria Tower Gardens which will not be occupied by the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.

Answered by Baroness Penn - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Decisions on the future management arrangements for Victoria Tower Gardens will be agreed in good time before the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre opens.


Written Question
Victoria Tower Gardens: Monuments
Wednesday 20th December 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government what arrangements, if any, they have made to transfer control of all or part of Victoria Tower Gardens to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, or another department, to enable the planned construction of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre; and whether they intend to attach conditions to such a transfer to safeguard the interests of the Gardens' current users.

Answered by Baroness Penn - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government’s aim, as part of the programme to establish the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, is to enhance Victoria Tower Gardens so that they can continue to be appreciated by everyone living in, working in or visiting the area. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are discussing the arrangements which can best ensure safe and efficient construction while maintaining access to the Gardens. Those arrangements may include transfer of title for part of the gardens, especially in order to provide a suitably long lease for the Memorial and Learning Centre.


Written Question
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service
Monday 25th September 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government what are the planned contents of each exhibition room in the proposed Holocaust Memorial Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens.

Answered by Baroness Swinburne - Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Cost estimates for excavation at the chosen site are commercially sensitive and not suitable for publication at this time. No estimates have been made for locating the Learning Centre at a hypothetical site.

Information about the Learning Centre's content was presented at the public inquiry and is available on the Westminster City Council website: westminster.gov.uk/sites/default/files/cd_8.9_proof_of_evidence_of_stephen_greenberg_1.pdf .


Written Question
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service
Monday 25th September 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost of excavation in Victoria Tower Gardens to create space for the proposed Learning Centre associated with the Holocaust Memorial; and what savings in costs would be made if the Learning Centre were located in an existing building in the area.

Answered by Baroness Swinburne - Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Cost estimates for excavation at the chosen site are commercially sensitive and not suitable for publication at this time. No estimates have been made for locating the Learning Centre at a hypothetical site.

Information about the Learning Centre's content was presented at the public inquiry and is available on the Westminster City Council website: westminster.gov.uk/sites/default/files/cd_8.9_proof_of_evidence_of_stephen_greenberg_1.pdf .


Written Question
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service
Wednesday 12th July 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 28 June forecasting the cost for completion of the proposed Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens as £138.8 million (HLWS875), what estimate they have made of the cost at the likely date of completion, whether they will require the charitable contribution to rise to meet the original one-third of the cost, what undertakings they have received so far about charitable contributions, and what plans they have for continuing to fund Holocaust education.

Answered by Baroness Scott of Bybrook - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Our estimate of costs at the likely date of completion and our current estimate of charitable donations are set out in the Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government is committed to continuing to support and fund Holocaust education. The Department for Education (DfE) has provided over £5.9 million since 2021 to support the Holocaust Educational Trust with their Lessons from Auschwitz programme, with additional funding of £500,000 from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to extend the programme to students in Higher Education; in the same period DfE has provided £1.5 million to the UCL Institute of Education’s Centre for Holocaust Education.

In addition DLUHC has supported a broad range of activities across the country aimed at increasing understanding of the Holocaust and its impact on different communities. Recent projects include:

  • Memorial Gestures – temporary and travelling exhibitions arranged by the Holocaust Centre in Huddersfield, including a programme for schools (£52,500)
  • Kitchener Transport – a short film made by Learning from the Righteous used as an educational resource (£40,000)
  • Roots of antisemitism in England – exhibition organised by National Holocaust Centre, Nottinghamshire (£138,000)
  • Romani arts­ – creating educational materials about the destruction of Roma and Sinti communities (£50,000)
  • Vision Schools – work with University of the West of Scotland to engage students in exploring the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust (£50,000).

Written Question
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service
Wednesday 5th July 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 22 June (HL Deb col 329) concerning the proposed Holocaust memorial, whether they will clarify what was meant by the statement that "The view of Parliament from the memorial will serve as a permanent reminder that political decisions have far-reaching consequences".

Answered by Baroness Scott of Bybrook - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Detailed information on the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre published as part of the planning application includes an assessment of the significance of the chosen location (see especially the proof of evidence of the UK Holocaust Memorial co-chairs (document cd 8.1) and the assessment of alternative sites (see environmental statement volume 2 revised chapter 4 (cd 6.49)). The information remains available on Westminster City Council’s website.

In addition to the planning application information, the answers I provided on 12 April 2023 (HL6914) and 5 May (HL7432) provide detailed figures on the areas used for the proposed development. For clarity, the figure of approximately 7.5% relates to the total area of Victoria Tower Gardens and the figure of around 85% relates to the area of green space at Victoria Tower Gardens.


Written Question
Victoria Tower Gardens
Wednesday 5th July 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 22 June (HL Deb col 328) that the proposed design for a Holocaust memorial “uses approximately 7.5 per cent of the area of Victoria Tower Gardens”, and the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) on 4 July 2019 (HC270274), which refers to around 85 per cent of green space being retained, whether they will clarify the amount of green space that would be lost; and what assessment they have made of the calculation by the London Historic Parks & Gardens Trust that 29.6 per cent of the green space, excluding the mound, would be lost.

Answered by Baroness Scott of Bybrook - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Detailed information on the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre published as part of the planning application includes an assessment of the significance of the chosen location (see especially the proof of evidence of the UK Holocaust Memorial co-chairs (document cd 8.1) and the assessment of alternative sites (see environmental statement volume 2 revised chapter 4 (cd 6.49)). The information remains available on Westminster City Council’s website.

In addition to the planning application information, the answers I provided on 12 April 2023 (HL6914) and 5 May (HL7432) provide detailed figures on the areas used for the proposed development. For clarity, the figure of approximately 7.5% relates to the total area of Victoria Tower Gardens and the figure of around 85% relates to the area of green space at Victoria Tower Gardens.


Written Question
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service
Wednesday 5th July 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 22 June (HL Deb col 328), in relation to the consideration of alternative sites for a Holocaust memorial, that “all that work was done many years ago”, whether they intend to publish their assessment of sites alternative to Victoria Tower Gardens.

Answered by Baroness Scott of Bybrook - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Detailed information on the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre published as part of the planning application includes an assessment of the significance of the chosen location (see especially the proof of evidence of the UK Holocaust Memorial co-chairs (document cd 8.1) and the assessment of alternative sites (see environmental statement volume 2 revised chapter 4 (cd 6.49)). The information remains available on Westminster City Council’s website.

In addition to the planning application information, the answers I provided on 12 April 2023 (HL6914) and 5 May (HL7432) provide detailed figures on the areas used for the proposed development. For clarity, the figure of approximately 7.5% relates to the total area of Victoria Tower Gardens and the figure of around 85% relates to the area of green space at Victoria Tower Gardens.


Written Question
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Freedom of Information
Wednesday 10th May 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask His Majesty's Government what percentage of freedom of information requests received in the past 12 months by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities were withheld in full because of the cost of the response exceeding the limit.

Answered by Baroness Scott of Bybrook - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Cabinet Office publishes information on the handling of freedom of information requests on Gov.uk. This published information shows that for 2022 17% of the 867 requests for information received by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities were refused on the grounds of cost.