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SSW has today written to all Southwark councillors to remind them that Southwark’s burial strategy – and the destruction it threatens – is a borough-wide issue.
The council proposes chainsawing 10 acres of high-quality woodland and wooded areas, and excavating hundreds of historic graves and memorials for 4,800 burial plots at Southwark Woods (Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries).
Burial is a borough-wide issue. These damaging proposals should be of concern to all Southwark councillors, representing all communities, of all faiths and needs.
Campaigners have repeatedly raised serious concerns about Southwark’s process, the lack of an appropriate public consultation, the lack of financial detail, the lack of accessibility to all faiths and the destruction of the woods and their natural value.
But councillors appear to want to keep it local, saying repeatedly “we have enough green space around here,” and that “local people should be able to walk to where family are buried”.
That’s all well and good if you live in East Dulwich. But Southwark is one of the poorest and most polluted boroughs in the city, with over 200 early deaths from air pollution each year. Its population is growing rapidly and for people at the Elephant & Castle or up in Bankside, Southwark Woods is an incredible asset – one that Southwark has failed to even value.
Southwark Woods’ acres of beautiful trees, shady green glades and cool fresh woodland air filled with birdsong and droning bees benefit people of all ages who can’t afford to escape the concrete jungle in a summer heatwave or on a wintry weekend.
Campaigners have a solution that would give Southwark a double win. On 8th July, SSW will present a petition from over 8,000 people to:
•Declare the cemeteries a 100-acre Memorial Park Nature Reserve, with respect for the dead and woodland for the living
•Save huge cost and invest in burial provision for all faiths at Kemnal Park five miles away
Southwark’s burial strategy concerns all Southwark councillors, representing all communities of all faiths and needs. Not just the councillors who happen to live nearby. SSW urges them to listen to the people and do what is best for all.
Southwark's Burial Strategy is a Southwark-wide Issue
30th June 2015
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Southwark Woods, at Camberwell Old Cemetery