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The Save Southwark Woods Campaign of the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries today alerted the Diocese of Southwark’s Consistory Court to the risk of flooding from Camberwell Old Cemetery.


Last week, Southwark Council admitted to its cemetery stakeholder group that it has no flood risk prevention measures in place on so-called Area Z - even after felling two acres of trees on the hillside leading down to houses on Ryedale, East Dulwich. The area is already prone to flooding.


Southwark Council’s own Flood Risk Manager John Kissi admitted that residents’ concerns over flooding are justified.


Last year, Southwark applied to the Southwark Diocese’s Consistory Court for permission to clear two acres of woods and mound over 48,000 existing graves for 700 burial plots. The Diocese must give or deny permission as it is mostly consecrated ground.


Southwark went ahead with mass tree felling in February without Church permission or before putting flood protection measures in place, let alone having a tested flood protection plan.


SSW has asked the Diocese’s Consistory Court Chancellor Philip Petchey not to give permission for the project until Southwark’s detailed flood risk prevention measures have been designed and approved by the Council, which is also Local Lead Flood Authority, and provided to the Consistory Court for their consideration.


“Increased flood risk is just one of many reasons why Southwark’s burial development is unfit for purpose,” said Blanche Cameron, Chair of Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries.


“The Council is desperate to provide burial plots in Southwark - even if it endangers its residents's properties.”


The Friends of Camberwell's Cemeteries' letter to the Diocese of Southwark's Consistory Court Chancellor Philip Petchey is below.


The SSW Campaign is fighting to protect the woods and graves of the Camberwell Cemeteries and preserve them as Memorial Park Nature Reserves, like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries.





Philip Petchey

Chancellor of the Diocese of Southwark

Minerva House

5 Montague Close

London SE1 9BB


27th January 2017


Dear Chancellor Petchey,


Southwark Council’s application for faculty for development of Area Z, Camberwell Old Cemetery Ref No. 048-07


We are writing about local residents’ safety following works already carried out by Southwark Council at Area Z.


Last week, Southwark Council admitted that they do not have flood prevention plans ready for Area Z and that Southwark Flood Risk Manager John Kissi has confirmed that residents’ concerns are justified over the risk of flooding.


We urgently request that the Consistory Court does not give faculty until Southwark’s detailed flood risk prevention measures have been designed and approved by the Council as Local Lead Flood Authority and provided to the Consistory Court.


This is just one of many reasons why this development is unfit for purpose.


We attach Flood Risk Team’s report for your reference.




Blanche Cameron

Chair, Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries





Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby

Bishop of Southwark, the Right Reverend Christopher Chessun

Paul Morris, Registrar of Diocese of Southwark

Harriet Harman MP

Southwark Council Leader Peter John

Southwark Councillor Ian Wingfield, Urban Realm

Peckham Rye Ward Southwark Councillors Vikki Mills, Gavin Edwards and Renata Hamvas

Southwark Council Flood Risk Team Manager John Kissi

Anne Stanesby, Camberwell Cemeteries Working Group

Campaign alerts Church Court to flood risk from cemetery project

27th January 2017    |    [email protected]    |    @southwarkwoods    |    Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods


Above: Houses on Ryedale that sit below Camberwell Cemetery and have been flooded in the past without mass removal of trees.


Below: Area Z in Underhill Road Wood: Two acres cleared, hundreds of trees felled for burial plots against thousands of written objections from residents.


Bottom: Even without removing hundreds of trees, flooding across Camberwell Old Cemetery happens every winter, as the cemetery sits on tens of metres of impermeable London Clay.