Southwark’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Realm Cllr Ian Wingfield has accused a local community group of lying.
In a recent statement to a journalist, Cllr Wingfield accused the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries, the Save Southwark Woods campaign, of producing inaccurate information about Southwark’s Burial Service:
“The campaigners have...made increasingly outrageous claims to try and discredit the work the council is doing, most of which are inaccurate or outright fantasy.”
Cllr Wingfield did not provide any evidence for his allegations.
The Friends group has filed a formal complaint and called for Cllr Wingfield’s removal from Southwark's Burial Service public engagement process.
“By accusing us of lying, Cllr Wingfield has broken Southwark’s Code of Conduct which states Councillors must treat all members of the public with respect," said Blanche Cameron, Chair of the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries.
"He did not send us his allegations first for a right of reply or support them with any evidence."
Which of FOCC's statements does Cllr Wingfield deny is true?
That Southwark has felled acres of woods to mound over tens of thousands of graves, including dozens of soldiers’ graves, for resale? That Southwark is currently applying to Parliament for permission to dig up thousands of private graves for resale but hasn't even consulted families? That Southwark has ignored thousands of written objections from local residents? Or that Southwark’s Burial Service discriminates against most Muslim and Jewish residents?
“Southwark Council invited us to be a Burial Strrategy Stakeholder Member and give our views, which we have been doing. Cllr Wingfield’s public attack on us is extraordinary."
At a recent Burial Stakeholder Group meeting, Cllr Wingfield walked out three times and had to be called back by FOCC and other stakeholder groups.
“Cllr Wingfield clearly has contempt for us as a community stakeholder group. We have filed a formal complaint and asked for him to be removed from Southwark's Burial Service public engagement process. Cllr Wingfield is unfit for the job as he is unable to act respectfully with us as a community stakeholder in accordance with Southwark’s Code of Conduct.”
FOCC has been working for over two years through the Save Southwark Woods campaign to protect and preserve the woods, nature, graves and heritage of the Camberwell Cemeteries and make them nature reserves.
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Cllr Ian Wingfield, in charge of Southwark's Burial Service and public engagement on burial, in press statement accuses community stakeholder group FOCC of lying.
Below: Rose Ives and mum Tina Kirby by relative's grave in Camberwell New Cemetery featured in the same article.
Bottom: Area Z Camberwell Old Cemetery - two acres of woods in a Grade 1 SINC clear-felled for burial plots over tens of thousands of graves