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The next two acres to go - Metropolitan Open Land on Lewisham border next to Honor Oak Park station for carpark and burial plots
Yesterday, Southwark Council announced plans to grab 2 MORE ACRES of public Metropolitan Open Land for private inner city burial.
The 2-acre Metropolitan Open Land SINC brownfield site is next to Honor Oak Recreation Ground right on the Lewisham border. It sits above the steep slope down to Honor Oak Park train station below.
Originally promised in the 1990s for community or sports use, Southwark Council are proposing 900 private burial plots and a carpark next to the station.
This is just the latest in Southwark's endless Metropolitan Open Land grab of SINC sites for inner city burial.
In February 2 ACRES of Grade 1 SINC woods, hundreds of trees, at Camberwell Old Cemetery were felled. 10 MORE ACRES of Grade 1 SINC woods are next (Areas J, K, L and H1). And 2 MORE ACRES ON THE SIDE OF ONE TREE HILL (Area D2).
These 2 acres of Metropolitan Open Land known as Area B were once the site of a Victorian fireworks factory, then a golf course then becoming in 1959 Southwark's plant nursery. Since the plant nursery closed, the land has been a storage area and a dumping ground.
It is now a 'brownfield' site - some of London's richest ecology is found on brownfied sites.
But Southwark Council want to put a huge 2-metre-high earth mound on top of a decades-old concrete slab for 900 burial plots.
This heavy earth mound would sit on top of the steep slope down to Honor Oak Park station below.
Previous land slippage in 2010 from the site caused the station platform to move and required extensive and costly repair by Southwark Council.
Network Rail will want to know from the Council how much the earth mound will weigh in the rain? Campaigners estimate a 2-metre high slab of earth across two acres could weigh more than 20,000 tonnes.
The Council admits they don’t know what is under the concrete slab, or how strong it is. Decontamination of the site could also be costly. Costs estimates of £800,000 (Southwark's 2011 figures) could increase.
Residents and campaigners say £800,000 could provide much longer-term community benefit on Metropolitan Open Land than just a few years' private burial plots.
"This 2-acre SINC site could create lots of community benefit. It would be ideal for some of the two million trees Mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to plant for air pollution, climate change and nature," said Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries spokesperson Blanche Cameron.
"A community wood here would help stop the site flooding as it does, and be a beautiful, healthy place for nature and for kids and adults to play in. There are many other possible uses too. Locking up any public land for private burial space is wrong."
Over 11,000 people are calling Southwark to make the Camberwell Cemeteries Nature Reserves – with respect for the dead, woods for the living and social, ecological and health benefits for all.
Instead, against huge local and London-wide opposition, Southwark is ploughing on with its Metropolitan Open Land grab for a few years' inner London private burial.
Southwark officers state they intend to apply to themselves for planning permission over August – right in the middle of the holiday season.
Plans will be shown at the Camberwell New Cemetery Office, Brenchley Gardens, on Wednesday 29th June.
Southwark Council’s outline proposals and consultation questionnaire are here:
The initial response from Save Southwark Woods the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries to proposals is here, with more information to follow:
For more information contact:
Southwark's outline proposals for MOL development at Area B and Southwark’s questionnaire are here