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CORRECTION: We incorrectly stated that the Public Consultation for Southwark Council’s application to the Diocese of Southwark was 'invalid' because it did not identify where development plans could be viewed by the public. The notice did in fact include a reference to where proposals could be viewed.
UPDATE 30TH OCTOBER: Over 150 objections were received by the Diocese of Southwark within the public consultation period, after notification by Save Southwark Woods with only three days to go.
Objections were gathered and delivered to the Diocese of Southwark along with the petition from almost 10,000 people to protect and preserve the Cemeteries and declare them nature reserves.
The next step is for Southwark Council to apply for permission for development (Petition for Faculty). When this is received, the Diocese has said they will let us and other objectors know what we can do to pursue our objections.
26th October 2015
Today, the Save Southwark Woods campaign alerted Southwark Council to failures in its notification process which invalidate their application process to the Church of England for development of Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries.
By law, Southwark Council must get planning permission - called ‘faculty’ - from the Diocese of Southwark, Church of England, for Phase 1 of massive plans to cut down acres of SINC woods and desecrate the graves of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.
The public consultation period for the application to the Church is a minimum 28 days provided residents are given proper notification. The notification period was to end on October 23rd, 2015.
In a letter to Parks and Open Spaces officer Rebecca Towers responsible for the Council’s so-called public consultation notification, SSW pointed out her failure to post notices at Camberwell New Cemetery, failure to put application numbers in the ‘notice’ posted at the Old Cemetery, and failure to notify the public where proposals can actually be viewed in order to comment, invalidating any public consultation of the applications.
“These are basic mistakes. Not to put a notice on a gate? No reference to the plans? Come on. Southwark is unfit to run a cemetery planning application process let alone own and manage cemeteries.” Said Save Southwark Woods spokesperson Blanche Cameron.
A failure to consult is a violation of the Public Sector Equality Duty under s.149 of the Equality Act 2010. Should Southwark Council wish to go ahead with the applications, they must notify the residents in accordance with the law.
The Save Southwark Woods campaign is fighting to save the woods, graves and heritage of Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries and have them declared nature reserves.
The letter to Rebecca Towers is below:
Ms. Rebecca Towers
160 Tooley Street
London SE1 2QH
26th October 2015
Dear Ms Towers,
Invalid public consultation re. proposed development of Metropolitan Open Land at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries
We believe Southwark Council is in breach of its legal duties as a Public Sector Local Authority to give due notification to the public of a public consultation period relating to your application to the Diocese of Southwark, Church of England, for faculty to develop on Metropolitan Open Land at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries.
There are a number of discrepancies which invalidate your faculty application consultation ‘notice’, including:
Regarding Camberwell New Cemetery:
1. No notice of public consultation period for development has been posted at the front gates of Camberwell New Cemetery.
Regarding the ‘notice’ posted on Camberwell Old Cemetery gates:
1. On the ‘notice’ posted (see attached), there is no reference the actual planning or faculty application reference numbers.
2. There is no reference on the ‘notice’ to a website to where members of the public can view this faculty application and its proposals.
3. There is no reference on the ‘notice’ to where members of the public can view an exhibition or display of proposals.
4. There is no email address for contacting the Diocese of Southwark or Southwark Council with questions or requests for supplementary information, for example, where can these proposals be viewed?
Therefore, should you decide to continue with your plans for development, you must give due notification and information to the public relating to your applications.
for Save Southwark Woods
07731 304 966
Southwark’s cemeteries application process is invalid
26th October 2015