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Jeff Hart, chair of the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery, has denied that Nunhead Cemetery will gain from the development of Southwark Woods.
Cllr Victoria Mills previously stated that revenue generated by selling off 6,000 new burial plots was needed to pay for the maintenance of Nunhead Cemetery nature reserve.
Last night on Resonance FM, Jeff Hart refuted her assertion, saying this was “absolutely not true.”
He denied that Nunhead Cemetery is set to benefit in any way. “I did see a transcript of the show and what Cllr Mills said, and I raised it at a meeting with Avril Kirby the Superintendent of Cemeteries in Southwark and she was shocked by that comment. There is absolutely no basis in truth at all.”
Jeff Hart said, “These cemeteries are for the living and not just for the dead.”
Southwark council want to fell dozens of mature trees and clear woodlands and green space for 6,000 graves in a sanitised and sterile landscape. The sell-off would net the council tens of millions of pounds.
So where is the money going to?
Spokesperson for Save Southwark Woods Blanche Cameron said today, “We don’t know where the money’s going to. We just know the council is doing it for money, and we want them to stop.”
The council says their plan is driven by a demand for burial space within the borough, but Cllr Mills' statement contradicts this.
Blanche Cameron said, “We know woodlands have a real economic value. In 2008, Highbury Fields woods were valued at £45M benefit per year. We want to know more about the financial detail of this deal. What is the money to be spent on and how will it be allocated? And what has the council valued the woodlands at in their current state?”
Thousands of people object to the council’s plans. 300 residents marched on Sunday to protest proposals which would turn the woods into sanitised and sterile lawn landscapes.
In a letter to Southwark council today, campaign group Save Southwark Woods have asked the council to explain Councillor Mills’ statement and say what is really driving the development?
Friends of Nunhead Cemetery refute councillor’s statement that burial plots are to pay for nature reserve
10th March 2015