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Madness: Southwark wants 20,000 tonne, 2-metre-high earth mound above Honor Oak Park Station - for less than 4 years’ burial

24th June 2016

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The next two acres to go - Metropolitan Open Land on Lewisham border next to Honor Oak Park station for carpark and burial plots

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The craziest proposal so far? Southwark Council is planning high-rise burial at Camberwell New Cemetery.

 

A massive 2-metre-high, 20,000 tonne earth mound is being considered above Honor Oak Park station. This for less than 4 years of burial plots, coffins sitting on the concrete beneath.

 

But you won't see it mentioned on Southwark Council's outline plans or public consultation questionnaire.

 

This is the same site where in 2010, following illegal dumping, Southwark’s land slipped into Lewisham deforming the Honor Oak Park station platform and causing more than a million pounds of damage.

 

The site known as Area B suffers from flooding in heavy rains and sits on slippery London clay. Old concrete covers part of the surface, as it was once a fireworks factory, then a golf course, a plant nursery, then an illegal dump.

   

Southwark Council admits it has no idea what might be lurking underneath the crumbling slab, or even how strong it is.

 

Presumably Network Rail and rail passengers though will want to know how much a massive earth mound at the top of the steep slope down to the station would weigh? Campaigners have worked out the mound could easily weigh over 20,000 tonnes. More in the rain.

 

Is this Southwark’s most desperate attempt so far to keep burying people in the inner city? Even more desperate than digging graves on a one-in-seven slope on One Tree Hill? Or cutting down hundreds of trees in a Grade 1 SINC wood in Camberwell Old Cemetery?

 

Previously the Council agreed Area B should be for community use. Then the Council ‘swapped’ Area B in exchange for 'saving' Honor Oak Recreation Ground from burial - which Southwark have in fact refused to guarantee.

 

They are BOTH areas of PUBLIC Metropolitan Open Land. To effectively sell off either space for private burial plots would be a disgraceful loss of green space and community assets.

 

Area B is known as a 'brownfield' site. The ironic thing about brownfield sites is how green and biodiverse they often are. Area B has a wide variety of plant and trees species, invertebrates, butterflies, moths, and potentially rare amphibians, reptiles and bats. London needs more green space not less.

 

"Building a 20,000 tonne earth mound on public space above Honor Oak Park station for four years of high-rise burial plots is bonkers," said Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries spokesperson Blanche Cameron.

 

"Outdoor public green space is desperately needed for health, play, sport, nature.... There is no Park in Honor Oak Park. How about making one? Sadiq Khan could plant some of the two million trees he has promised for London's air pollution, climate change and nature.

 

"A community park or wood could help stop the site flooding. It could be a green gym, allotments, a market garden, a forest school... Locking up public open land for private burial is short-sighted and wrong."

 

If you had two acres of public open green space in inner London - what would YOU do with it?

 

Southwark says it wants to hear what people think via a questionnaire. It does not mention the 2-metre high earth mound, the trees to be lost to parking and burial plots, or alternative uses.

 

But Question 6 asks you for comments - this is a chance to tell the Council what you think Area B could be used for.

 

“We would like people to take the survey and tell the Council to stop the destruction of Metropolitan Open Land for inner city burial,” said Blanche, “It could be used for lots of longer-term community benefits. Let them know what you think it should be for.”

 

Southwark’s Public Consultation questionnaire - which does not mention the 2-metre high earth mound, flooding or loss of trees - is here:

 

https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/environment-leisure/camberwell-new-cemetery-consultation/consultation/intro/view

Area B: Metropolitan Open Land in inner London to be effectively sold off for high-rise private burial plots

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