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Southwark Council Misses Deadline - Fails to Defend Desecration of Graves and Felling of Woods

18th April 2016    |    [email protected]    |    @southwarkwoods    |    Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods


The memorials of the dead poor removed from Camberwell Old Cemetery and hundreds of trees felled without Church permission - Save Southwark Woods calls on the Diocese of Southwark to stop the desecration and destruction now

Southwark Council has missed the 21 day deadline to present their case to the Church against more than 800 objections to the Council’s development of Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries.


The Diocese of Southwark is preparing a hearing in the Church Consistory Court into Southwark Council’s applications to develop the Camberwell Cemeteries in Honor Oak and East Dulwich.


On 1st March, Save Southwark Woods presented the case on behalf of more than 800 objectors against Southwark Council’s destructive, disrespectful and unnecessary development.


Southwark Council had three weeks to defend their applications against SSW’s objections.


More than six weeks later, the Diocese has informed Save Southwark Woods that Southwark Council has failed to present any case in response.


The Diocese asked if SSW wants the Church to request Southwark Council provide their defence against SSW’s case?


But SSW wants to know why Southwark Council has missed the legal deadline, in the face of such a huge public outcry?


Is it because Southwark Council cannot defend its destruction of graves and woods? Or are they just ignoring the Church’s legal jurisdiction over the consecrated ground of Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries?


In February and March this year, Southwark Council carried out the majority of development works without waiting for the Church’s hearing to decide whether to approve their plans or not.


Headstones and memorials have been removed and hundreds of trees felled at Camberwell Old Cemetery.


“It’s an absolute disgrace,” said SSW spokesperson Blanche Cameron.


“Southwark Council has failed to defend its destruction. The Diocese has already warned them they are carrying out works without Church permission and there is a hearing pending into the Council’s applications for permission.


“Local MP Harriet Harman also wrote to the Council back in February, requesting them to stop work amid fears of increased flood risk from removal of so many trees and even questioning the legality of the tree felling.


“Southwark Council’s failure to present any argument against SSW’s objections on behalf of over 800 objectors seems to highlight the Council’s rank contempt, not just for the thousands of residents against their horrible and destructive scheme, but also for the Church’s own jurisdiction and legal process.”


SSW has again asked to the Diocese to tell Southwark Council to stop the desecration and destruction, put back the memorials and the woods and present their case


SSW’s letter to the Diocese and copied to Southwark Council Leader Peter John and others is below:


Paul Morris, Registrar

Diocese of Southwark

Minerva House

5 Montague Close

London SE1 9BB


18th April 2016


Dear Mr. Morris,


Re: Southwark Council’s development of the Camberwell Cemeteries without Church permission


Thank you for your letter of 13th April 2016.


Save Southwark Woods’ objections to Southwark Council’s applications to the Diocese of Southwark to develop the Camberwell Cemeteries (Form 5 Particulars of Objection) were delivered to the Diocese and Southwark Council on 1st March 2016, on behalf of more than 800 objectors.


Southwark Council had 21 days to make a case in response to our objections, which they did not do.


We do not understand why the Diocese of Southwark is asking us whether the Diocese should now request Southwark Council to respond to our case, 48 days later?


We do not know why Southwark Council has not presented a case against our objections.


In the meantime damage has continued to consecrated ground under the Church’s jurisdiction.


Is it because the largest part of this development has already been carried out without the Church’s permission?


The Church’s hearing to decide on Southwark Council’s application for these works is still pending.


Yet memorials of the dead have been removed from the area and two acres of woodland, hundreds of trees, have been felled without Church permission - the very basis of the 800 objections and the reason for the Church’s hearing (see photos attached).


We again request the Diocese inform Southwark Council they have acted without permission for these works, and request them to stop the destruction of nature and graves, to put back the headstones and memorials and to restore the hundreds of trees and woodland habitat.


We also ask the Diocese to request Southwark Council produce a response to Save Southwark Woods’ objections.


I am copying this letter to the Diocesan Chancellor Philip Petchey, Southwark Council Leader Peter John and Councillor Darren Merrill leading Southwark Council’s Cemetery Reuse Development project.




Blanche Cameron

for Save Southwark Woods

2016_03_22 COC MEMORIALS 2 2016_03_01 COC MEMORIALS 2016_03_22 COC MEMORIALS 1 2016_02_23 COC MEMORIALS 2016_04_12 COC MEMORIALS 2 2016_04_12 MEMORIALS 1

The story of the Camberwell Cemeteries: Evening Standard 10th April 2016