The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries / Save Southwark Woods Campaign are asking Southwark and Lewisham residents to object again to burial plots in the Honor Oak Nature Corridor. Even though it won’t change a thing.
Southwark Council has already cut down dozens of trees at Area D1 on One Tree Hill and in Area Z in Camberwell Old Cemetery.
Now Southwark is applying to take three more acres of precious nature space on Metropolitan Open Land - Area B - for rows of sterile lawn burial plots and headstones.
The July 2016 consultation for Area B, the Old Nursery Site behind Honor Oak Park Station, showed overwhelming public rejection of burial plots on this site.
86% of 454 respondents said it should be made a nature reserve or some other social amenity.
Now Southwark is going through the motions of statutory planning consultation about burial plans on Area B - open until April 3rd.
Southwark Councillors and officers have already said in cemetery ‘stakeholder’ meetings they are going to ignore the results and dig up Area B anyway - in violation of the Gunning Principles on Local Authority consultations (see below).
When is a consultation not a consultation? When it’s in Southwark.
Desperate Southwark needs these 1,022 burial plots to buy time until they can begin mass excavation of thousands of graves for resale in the Camberwell Cemeteries. The Council intends to start this process (euphemistically called ‘reuse’) in 2022.
“We must still tell Southwark not to destroy nature with more burial plots even though we know they are going to do it anyway,” said Lewis Schaffer, Save Southwark Woods campaigner.
“Southwark’s inevitable rejection of residents’ views about Area B will prove again that Southwark Council doesn’t do public consultations.”
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries are fighting to save the 100 acres of the Camberwell Cemeteries and their woods and graves and make them inner city Nature Reserves like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries.
Object to burial plots on Area B:
Gunning Principles on Local Authority Consultations
"The public law duty to consult is one aspect of the principle that public authorities should exercise fairness in the exercise of their functions...
Those principles, known as the "Gunning principles" are:
- Consultation should occur when proposals are at a formative stage;
- Consultations should give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit intelligent consideration;
- Consultations should allow adequate time for consideration and response;
- There must be clear evidence that the decision maker has considered the consultation responses, or a summary of them, before taking its decision.
Those principles were recently re-affirmed by the court in the case of Draper v Lincolnshire CC (involving consultation on a proposed programme of library closures in Lincolnshire - see further below).
In the recent case of Moseley v Haringey , the Supreme Court also endorsed the Gunning principles and added two further general principles:
- The degree of specificity regarding the consultation should be influenced by those who are being consulted;
- The demands of fairness are likely to be higher when the consultation relates to a decision which is likely to deprive someone of an existing benefit."
UK Supreme Court rules on 'unlawful' Local Authority Consultations
"Local authorities need to ensure that their consultations present the options in an accurate way and truly involve local people in the decision-making process."
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Area B Consultation report showing 86% of respondents rejected burial on Area B.
Below top two photos: Area B the Old Plan Nursery site in the Honor Oak Nature Corridor behind Honor Oak Park Station - home to hedgehogs, bats, owls, reptiles and a myriad of other rare and common wildlife.
Third photo: Previously taken land, next to Area B.
Residents' demonstration Saturday 11th March. The view from The Glade One Tree Hill to the City and Canary Wharf.