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Area B worth more than burial – Friends Group launches Public Ideas Competition

4th July 2016

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The next 4 ACRES to go - public Metropolitan Open Land on Lewisham border next to Honor Oak Park station for car parking and private burial plots

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Area B: 4 ACRES PUBLIC Metropolitan Open Land in inner London to be effectively sold off for private burial plots, car parking and storage

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Southwark Council wants to take ANOTHER FOUR ACRES of public inner city land for car parking and private burial plots – steps from Honor Oak Park station and next to the Recreation Ground.

 

Today, the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries has launched a Public Ideas Competition for more creative thinking about the future of the site and what it could be used for.

 

Revenue from the 900 lifeless dormitory-style burial plots would bring in around £1.8M in total (less than four years' burial at approx. £2,000 each).

 

This public inner city London site would then be locked up as ‘dead space’ for at least the next 100 years with no other use possible.

 

The Council-owned Honor Oak Park site has had many uses – a Victorian fireworks factory, a golf course, a plant nursery, then an illegal dump in the 1990s.

 

On the same site in 2010, after the illegal dumping, the land slipped deforming Honor Oak Park station's platform and causing over £1Million worth of damage.

 

According to the Department of Communities and Local Government, one acre of inner city London land is worth between £3M and £15M – but in Southwark could achieve up to £16.25M an acre, making Area B potentially worth up to £65M (DCLG 2015).

 

Four acres of woods could be worth more than £10M every year to Southwark in free ecosystem services – clean air, flood prevention, play space, education and amenity, plus all the recognised health and well-being benefits woods and trees bring.

 

But as residents know from the Heygate Estate debacle, Southwark Labour has no problem selling off community assets to private interests.

 

3,000 Heygate homes were sold from under residents’ feet to private developer Lend Lease, with fewer than 100 so-called ‘affordable’ council flats provided in return. So much for Southwark Labour’s promise of 35% social housing in private developments.

 

The Heygate's urban forest of 410 mature trees was valued at £15M, confirmed by the Forestry Commission. Southwark valued it at £700,000 to buyers Lend Lease.

 

The same Councillor responsible for the Heygate sell-off – Councillor Ian Wingfield – is now in charge of Southwark’s burial land grab – another shocking loss of public assets with no financial, environmental or social impact assessment, breaking Southwark’s Value for Money and Fairer Future promises.

 

But this isn’t just about Southwark’s chromic waste of public money and community assets.

 

The public Metropolitan Open Land site, steps from Honor Oak Park Rec Ground and the station, was promised for community use. It was then ‘swapped’ to ‘save’ neighbouring Honor Oak Rec from being used for burial plots – which Southwark Labour Councillors are now refusing to guarantee.

 

Air pollution, densification and loss of green spaces all threaten the health and well-being of Londoners. Are burial plots the best use of inner city public land?

 

Could these four acres be used more creatively for everyone’s benefit? A local resident pointed out there is no Park in Honor Oak Park - why not make one? Others are calling for community woods, orchards, allotments, a football pitch

 

As Southwark pursues deforestation and loss of public land to private burial, the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries have demanded Southwark recognise burial has no place in inner London.

 

Southwark is carrying out a ‘public consultation’ on Area B – which the Friends Group says is biased, lacking all the information the public need to decide what they want for the site.

 

“Southwark are only proposing car parking and private burial plots,” said Blanche Cameron of the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries. “What about the promise of community uses? Locking up four acres of public Metropolitan Open Land for less than four years of private burial plots is wrong.”

 

“We believe an ideas competition offers a more creative and inclusive way of exploring the site’s potential and we hope as many ideas are put forward as possible. That’s why we are launching the competition, to ask the public what THEY would like to see on this four acre inner London site. We will then hold a public vote and put the best ideas to Southwark Council.

 

“It’s free and easy to enter– we hope everyone will have a go and show that there are much better, fairer and healthier uses for inner city land than burial plots.”

 

 

Area B Honor Oak Park – Public Ideas Competition

 

Four acres of public inner city land: What community use would YOU like to see?

 

For competition info and free entry go to:

 

www.savesouthwarkwoods.org.uk/Area-B-Ideas-Competition

Area B Consultation Board 1 Intro Camberwell New C Area B Consultation Board 2 Setting the scene Camb Area B Consultation Board 3 Site Analysis Camberwe Area B Consultation Board 4 Landscape Proposal Cam View AREA B 4 acres on Google Maps