Southwark Council hid the existence of forty-two soldiers’ War Graves from its planning application for ‘new’ burial plots over the dead in Camberwell Old Cemetery.
Southwark applied in 2015 to cut down two acres of woods to sell 700 ‘new’ burial plots over 48,000 people buried in Area Z.
Southwark’s application to itself stated only six soldiers’ War Graves were located on the site.
But in fact, an astonishing forty-eight WW1 and possibly WW2 soldiers lay beneath the trees.
And incredibly, Southwark has no intention of marking twenty-three of the soldiers’ War Graves - as they would get in the way!
These are soldiers who gave their lives for their country, dying either in battle or afterwards from their wounds.
But Southwark hid their existence from the public until they had given themselves planning permission.
Southwark did however tell the Church of England, whose permission they also required.
Southwark Diocese’s Chancellor Petchey stated in his February 2017 Consistory Court ruling:
“I was surprised to discover that there were as many as 48 unmarked war graves in Area Z” (para 45).
So was the public.
Disgracefully, Chancellor Petchey goes on: “It might be better for all 48 graves to remain unmarked” before admitting this is not for him to decide.
Why didn’t Southwark tell the public the truth? That they were developing over forty-eight soldiers’ graves not six – with no intention of marking twenty-three of them?
Southwark Council has still not given the whereabouts of the unknown forty-two soldiers despite repeated requests, yet claims no burial plots will be sold over soldiers’ graves.
How can the public believe anything Southwark says now?
Who is responsible for the cover-up? Harrison landscape consultants for leaving the soldiers’ graves off plans?
Southwark Council for feeding the public false planning information?
And when did Southwark first contact the War Graves Commission? Also after planning permission?
And how many soldiers are buried – unmarked – under hundreds of ‘new’ burial plots being sold right now in Area F Woodvale in Camberwell Old Cemetery, developed in 2013? Tens of thousands of people are buried here in public graves too.
And how many soldiers are laid to rest across the ten acres of beautiful, inner city woods that Southwark intends to cut down next?
When will the soldiers – and everyone buried in the Camberwell Cemeteries – be left to rest in peace among the trees?
This is just another reason why Southwark Council is unfit to run a burial service.
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries, the Save Southwark Woods campaign, are fighting to save the cemeteries as nature reserves with respect for the dead and woods and nature for the living.
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Above: Area Z where Southwark said only six soldiers' war graves were located. Forty-eight soldiers are buried here, twenty-three of whom Southwark does not intend to mark. Photo: The Telegraph, 10th March 2017 - read the full article here.
Below: Two acres of woods cut down for burial plots over 48,000 dead. Southwark claims no burial plots will be sold over soldiers' graves - but have only just admitted to 48 not six, and won't say where the missing 42 are buried.
Southwark Council's planning application drawing shows just six soldiers' War Graves (indeed only five are mentioned in their Design & Access Statement) when forty-eight are located here.
Click on the drawing to download then enlarge to view. War Graves locations are shown as six red circles, four in unconsecrated ground, two in consecrated ground. Only one soldier is buried in each, although possibly with civilians alongside as these are public graves.
Above: How many soldiers lie in Area F on Woodvale, Camberwell Old Cemetery developed in 2013. Burial plots are being sold here right now over thousands of people buried beneath in public graves.
And how many soldiers lie in unmarked graves in the ten acres of beautiful woods and glades of Camberwell Old Cemetery a Grade 1 SINC below, with thousands more buried in their roots, hundreds of trees to be cleared for the sake of selling inner city burial plots?
Download Southwark's Area Z Design & Access Statement which only lists FIVE war graves (para 9.5, page 32) - SIX are shown on plan - still not the FORTY-EIGHT soldiers' War Graves on the site.