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Evidence Southwark Council is misleading the public over Church permission to fell trees or drive roads over graves

2nd February 2016

Below are emails between Southwark Council and the Diocese of Southwark proving Southwark Council misled the public about not needing Church permission to fell trees or drive a road over private graves at Camberwell Old Cemetery.

 

Documents:

 

22nd December: Rebecca Towers, Southwark Parks officer to Chancellor Philip Petchey, Judge of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Southwark:

Requesting early go-ahead to fell trees up to 150mm in girth and "opening up all existing paths" (a euphemism for driving an access road over private graves - relatives still have until 15th March to object.)

 

11th January: Chancellor Petchey's reply:

No tree over 75mm girth can be felled without permission and only then if not in a conservation area. These woods are in a Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

The Chancellor also requested more information about what Rebecca Towers means by "opening up all existing paths" which is to build an access road over private graves yet to have their burial rights extinguished - families still have until 15th March to object.

 

No reply from Rebecca Towers. Instead:

 

17th January: Councillor Darren Merrill emails local resident claiming the Diocese has given consent to proceed to fell trees up 150mm girth and open up all existing paths (see email on the right).

 

25th January:

Southwark Council put up a notice claiming that the Diocese has given go-ahead to fell all trees up to 150mm plus ten significant trees

 

27th January: Save Southwark Woods representatives meet with Chancellor Petchey who seems unaware of Southwark Council's claims or actions. Shares emails with campaigners.

2016_01_25 NOTICE OF STARTING WORK AREA Z

CONFIRMED: UNLAWFUL NOTICE - NO CHURCH PERMISSION FOR WORKS:

Below: Woods and graves at Area Z Camberwell Old Cemetery

AREA Z WOODS OAK

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:

 

 

Tom

 

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.

 

Darren Merrill

2016_01_05 DISRESPECTED CHILD GRAVE 3 2016_01_05 DISRESPECTED CHILD GRAVE MADELEINE CARL 2016_01_25 MADELEINE CARLISLE'S HEADSTONE REMOVED 2015_12_22 REBECCA TOWERS TO DIOCESAN CHANCELLOR_P 2015_12_22 REBECCA TOWERS TO DIOCESAN CHANCELLOR_P 2016_01_11 DIOCESAN CHANCELLOR TO REBECCA TOWERS_P

22nd Dec: Rebeccaa Towers requests consent from Diocese to go-ahead with tree felling and road building before hearing - no mention of ten significant trees to go

11th Jan:Diocese Cancellor's response: NO trees over 75mm

2016_01_11 DIOCESAN CHANCELLOR TO REBECCA TOWERS_P Download Rebecca Towers' letter here...