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Save Southwark Woods asks Archbishop of Canterbury to stop unlawful destruction
1st February 2016
The Save Southwark Woods Campaign today has asked Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby urgently to intervene to stop Southwark's unlawful destruction.
Campaigners have asked the Archbishop to help the Diocese of Southwark resist undue pressure from Southwark Council to give consent for works that are to be the subject of a court hearing sometime in late Spring 2016.
Southwark are currently claiming falsely that they have consent from the Diocese to act illegally - fell all trees in the nature conservation woodland up to 150mm plus ten (10) of what even Southwark call 'significant trees' and build roads over private graves that still have to have their rights extinguished - and may never if families object.
SSW's letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is below:
For immediate attention and action
Dear Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby,
Re: Camberwell Cemeteries: Southwark Council proceeding without Faculty
We are asking you to intervene on behalf of the residents of Southwark to help the Diocese of Southwark resist undue pressure from Southwark Council.
The Diocese has received over 800 public objections to a petition for Faculty by Southwark Council for works to mound over Commonwealth War Graves, 48,000 public graves, build an access road over private graves and raze two acres of Grade 1 nature conservation area SINC woodland to ground level.
The Diocese of Southwark’s Consistory Court is at the moment organising a hearing to consider the Council’s proposals to be held sometime in late spring as a result of this huge public outcry.
However, the Council has asked the Consistory Court for consent for works that are to be the subject of the hearing, including tree felling and building access roads over private graves, before the hearing.
The Chancellor asked the Council for more information three weeks ago. But the Council has falsely informed the public that the Diocese had given consent and have started work.
The grave of a sixteen month old child Madeleine Carlisle buried in 1986 has already been desecrated, driven over repeatedly by works access vehicles, her headstone removed and all trace of her grave gone.
These works are part of the largest grave excavation and mounding program in UK history. This is too important a matter to be allowed to proceed without the Diocese having an opportunity to fully consider all the ramifications.
Should the Council be allowed to proceed, we believe the Diocese may appear to be giving consent before due legal process has been followed and the hearing into the Council’s application for permission held.
Once the woods have been felled and the graves desecrated they cannot be restored.
Please would you intercede as a matter of extreme urgency.
For Save Southwark Woods
CONFIRMED: UNLAWFUL NOTICE - NO CHURCH PERMISSION FOR WORKS:
Below: Woods and graves at Area Z Camberwell Old Cemetery
VANDALISED BY SOUTHWARK COUNCIL:
The grave of 16 month old Madeleine Carlisle, buried in 1986: waterlogged, driven over by works lorries and then the headstone removed - as though she never existed.
Darren Merrill's email to local resident Tom Snow
On 17 Jan 2016, at 17:46, Merrill, Darren <Darren.Merrill@southwark.gov.uk> wrote:
I think I need to be clear from the start area Z and D1 are still happening subject to faculty consent. We have written to the faculty to find out what preparatory works that we have specified DO NOT require a faculty. This is what has caused the delay and the hold up to the start date. We have now had a reply from the chancellor of Southwark office. This has stated that we are able to start some elements of the preparatory works which include:.
1. Replacing an existing Heras fence with hoarding around the site at Camberwell Old Cemetery
2. Remove to ground level scrub and small trees (less than 150mm in girth and 1.5m in height)
3. Treat for Japanese Knotweed
4. Open up all existing paths
5. Carry out soil sampling work from the deposited waste material to ascertain its make-up and depth. Such work would not involve going below the existing ground level.
As you have stated in your email there is a lot of surface water and waterlogged ground already in this area. We are working on a drainage plan for the Cemetery which area Z will be part of. For us to be able to do the investigation works in area Z to ascertain the final design of the drainage in this area so that we can give the homes on Ryedale the protection which at present they do not have. I have Ok'd the start of the works in this area which includes putting up Hoarding .
I am surprised that you feel that the council do not take the importance of the trees here for landscape, ecology and public enjoyment seriously. We have adjusted the plan over the past year so that we are protecting ecology, reducing the area for burial space from 1000 to 750 in area Z and reduced the amount in D1. We have to strike a balance between the importance of the ecology of the area ( which all reports I have seen say will be improved by these plans) and the need to respect those residents that wish to be buried and their families.
I have asked Gary and Rebecca to arrange a meeting with yourself to go through the trees that will be felled in area D1. They will be in contact with you in due course.