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The 6,000 burial plots that Southwark wants to develop on woodland and green space are to be sold to Londoners from any borough on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
The council has always claimed the development is driven by demand from Southwark residents. But on a tour of the woodlands at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries, Southwark’s Head of Public Realm Des Waters said these plots would be available to anyone who wants to buy them.
Residents’ campaign Save Southwark Woods has been raising awareness of the development proposals for 6 weeks. Over 1,300 Southwark residents have objected to council plans in writing or by petition, saying they have not been consulted. For many, the campaign is the first they have heard of the plans.
The council plans to spend £4M developing the woodlands for 6,000 burial plots, a “15-20 year solution” according to council leader Peter John.
Lack of inner city burial space is a pan-London problem, making these burial plots very marketable indeed. Other boroughs such as Tower Hamlets and Croydon have arrangements with private cemeteries on the edge of the city, to avoid losing valuable urban green space.
Is Southwark hoping for business from across the capital?
Southwark is one of the poorest and most polluted boroughs in London and needs all the natural help it can get making life healthy and happy for residents.
“Access to wild nature is not just for the rich”, say residents from the campaign Save Southwark Woods. “If Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries were managed for woodland along with One Tree Hill and Nunhead Cemetery nature reserves, we could have a 100 Acre Wood right here in Zone 2. What a fantastic legacy for health and public benefit for generations to come.”
Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries lie between East Dulwich and Nunhead at the southern end of Southwark in Zone 2.
London, bring out your dead, says Southwark Council Leader Peter John
5th March 2015