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Save Southwark Woods has written today to Council Leader Peter John, objecting to Southwark’s attempts to derail democratic process and prevent proper public consultation.


Southwark council has slashed the consultation period in half, on their plans to destroy acres of woods and graves at the Camberwell Cemeteries, Southwark Woods.


Originally a 6 week period was proposed from 27th August to 5th October. Now the Labour-led council has slashed it to 3 weeks, from 7th - 27th September.


They have also turned one planning application presented to the Diocese of Southwark into three separate applications presented to the public – requiring three separate objections


The council wants to spend £5.2M on construction contracts clearing acres of beautiful inner city woods and graves, for only 4 years of burial that wouldn’t even provide burial for all faiths. They have no cost benefit analysis.


These plans break EU, National, GLA and Southwark’s own directives, strategies and policies on nature and environment, racial and health equalities and financial management.


Over 9,000 people, including over 3,500 Southwark residents, are calling Southwark to declare the Cemeteries nature reserves.


The community has repeatedly proposed fairer, healthier and cheaper options with burial provision for all faiths in nearby cemeteries and 100 acres of nature reserves for future generations.


Save Southwark Woods is calling everyone to object to the plans. They have published an easy guide:


Their letter to Council Leader Peter John and Chief Planning Officer Simon Bevan is below:


Dear Peter John, Simon Bevan,


Reinstatement of original planning comment period originally announced as 5th October


Looking back through Southwark's correspondence, you initially proposed public comment period up until the day before the Planning Meeting on 6th October, ie 5th October.


This is usual procedure, for public comment to be received until the day before the planning meeting, to offer as much opportunity as possible to the public to participate - as you have claimed all along you wish to do.


You since then cut it to three weeks.


You have also made the planning application process as complicated as possible, by creating three separate planning applications. This is evidenced to be entirely on purpose and furthermore unnecessary, by the fact that you applied to the Diocese of Southwark with only one application.


We can do nothing to make the three planning applications one.


But Save Southwark Woods will be publicising on Monday Southwark Labour's attempts once more to derail the democratic process by making responding to the planning proposals as hard as possible, for as short a time as possible, by as few as possible, in order to bulldoze through with unpopular, unfair and undemocratic proposals with no cost benefit analysis or comparison with healthier, fairer, cheaper solutions repeatedly proposed by the community, and supported by over 9,000 people


We have taken advice and now request:


That you reinstate the public comment period to the original period announced, ie 5th October.


Or prove once and for all you have no interest in genuine public engagement or consultation.


We await your swift response.




Blanche Cameron


for Save Southwark Woods




To view proposals and comment on the three planning applications for the Cemeteries, click below.


Southwark's application to the Diocese of Southwark for the whole development is here:


Southwark tries to suppress public objection to Cemeteries planning applications

14th September 2015

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