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Save Southwark Woods campaigners have set up a ‘phone tree’ to defend the woods at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries. A phone tree is a way to alert many individuals quickly, in the event of immediate development, to descend on the site and protect it.
Residents will be keeping watch in case Southwark council starts to implement its plans to clear the woodlands without giving notice. Southwark has plans to develop the sites for 6,000 burial plots.
Local campaign group Save Southwark Woods says it is
extremely difficult to get information out of the council.
“Residents have asked many times for information on this development,” said campaign spokesperson Blanche Cameron.
“They won’t even send their own presentation from the Public Meeting on 11th February.”
“They promised a visit to the site with a tree specialist for February. They promised a bat survey for March. Nothing has happened, the silence is deafening. We are preparing for action in the face of the diggers, which we expect to come at any time.”
Southwark’s development plans have only gradually become clear. Until December last year, they still claimed the development was only for 2,200 burial plots. When residents discovered in fact it was 6,000, alarm bells really started ringing.
“These woods are incredibly important to us,” said local resident Claire Sheppard, who has joined the phone tree.
“They are part of the Green Chain Walk and Camberwell Old Cemetery is a Grade 1 site of importance for nature conservation. People use them every day for contact with nature, for walking and running, for health. I walk my dog in them 7 days a week, they are incredibly precious to me and my family. Woodlands are the lungs of London and I think the space is more valuable to the living than the dead.”
“Each tree is important to us,” said Blanche Cameron. “We
sincerely hope that councillors listen to residents and change their plans. But we will be keeping a close watch on the woodand we are preparing for action, should it be necessary.”
Email Save Southwark Woods with your mobile number if you are willing to be a 'branch' of the phone tree:
Phone tree to defend Southwark Woods
12th March 2015