Save VICTORIA TOWER GARDENS : no building in this precious London park!
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PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION and URGE THE UK HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL FOUNDATION TO RECONSIDER ITS CHOICE OF SITE FOR THE MEMORIAL AND LEARNING CENTRE
Victoria Tower Gardens is under threat
This unique tree-lined London park, running along an unspoilt stretch of the Thames between the Houses of Parliament and Lambeth Bridge, has been offered by the Government as a potential site for the proposed, publicly-funded, UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.
A high-profile design competition has been launched. Ten international practices are currently producing designs for a ‘striking’ and ‘truly iconic’ Holocaust Memorial and a 2650sqm underground Learning Centre, both to be built in the park.
The Save Victoria Tower Gardens Campaign believes that this park is the wrong site for ANY BUILDING. London's precious parks should indeed be preserved at all costs as untouched areas of greenery, to be enjoyed as such by the thousands of people who work or live nearby or who come as visitors.
The competition brief clearly states that the new Memorial is expected to attract one million visitors per year. An influx of people of this magnitude will change this quiet park into a totally different type of place, transforming it into a ‘civic space’ with all the attributes needed to manage large groups of people.
As for the Learning Centre, while the brief specifies that it should be located underground, this will not prevent it from completely altering the appearance of the park. An 80m long ramp will be required to reach a subterranean entrance, creating a wide ‘moat’ splitting the park. Weather-protected lift pods, escape stairs, service ducts, vents and grilles will all protrude above ground into the park, while extended paving areas will no doubt replace large areas of grass. There will also be a need for extensive signage and security.
All this distracting paraphernalia will kill once and for all the poignant simplicity of this park, whose character depends on the uninterrupted sweep of grass between the rows of magnificent plane trees.
Please help us stop Victoria Tower Gardens becoming the latest sacrificial site offered up by the Government to a purpose in conflict with the unique intrinsic nature of its context. London needs to preserve its historic assets: future generations will condemn us for our legacy of bad decisions and for the squandering of so many of the city's treasures.
Policy is on our side: Victoria Tower Gardens, a Grade 2* park, partly within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, also falls within the Westminster Council Monument Saturation Zone, in recognition that this corner of London is over-provided with civic memorials of all types.
The Save Victoria Tower Gardens Campaign is of course not opposed in any way to the creation of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. It simply says that Victoria Tower Gardens is the wrong place for it.
There are many possible alternatives. For example, we are encouraging the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation to consider the adjacent College Green, a site that is more prominent and equally close to Parliament - and which already has a two-storey underground building (now a car-park) that could house the Learning Centre without the technical challenges and expense of a new excavation. The Imperial War Museum, with its own growing Holocaust Galleries, is another realistic potential home for this Centre.
We very much hope you can support us. Please add your name and your comments to this petition. We need your help!
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