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London's Southwark Council Leader Cllr Peter John
Image courtesy of the Daily Mail
The story of the Camberwell Cemeteries: Evening Standard 10th April 2016
WTF is Southwark Council playing at?
The destruction of the Camberwell Cemeteries is all based on ‘re-use’ - and they haven’t even done a feasibility study to see if it’s possible???
SSW has just seen a notice published deep in Southwark’s website that a so-called ‘feasibility study’ into digging up graves is only now being prepared, to be “considered” by Cabinet in July:
Over five years ago, Southwark Council put together a Cemetery Strategy based on the euphemistic ‘re-use’ of graves – the largest mass grave excavation project in UK history.
In 2012 (with no feasibility study as it now turns out) Southwark Cabinet Members led by Cllr Peter John agreed multi-million pound plans to mound over and dig up the dead in the Camberwell Cemeteries.
Southwark then forced the first stages through, against thousands of Southwark residents’ objections and a huge public campaign to save the cemeteries.
Now Southwark Council has no proof this whole obscene project is even viable??
Director of Leisure Fiona Dean says officers are working on a feasibility study now, to be “considered” at the July Cabinet meeting.
But what can a hastily prepared study more than five years into a project find – other than everything is ‘fine’??
And what ‘feasibility study’ on re-use does not consult with the families of those whose graves are to be dug up?
What should a feasibility study into ‘re-use’ - digging up the dead for ‘new’ burial plots - cover?
Has Southwark asked families if they want their relatives dug up? No.
Has Southwark done a Borough-wide assessment of burial demand or needs? No.
Is Southwark telling ‘new’ burial plot buyers they will be buried over other families’ dead relatives? No.
Has Southwark done any value-for-money assessment with burial alternatives repeatedly proposed by residents and community groups? No.
Has Southwark valued the loss of the hundreds of trees already cut down across two acres of woods, let alone the ten acres still to go? No.
Has there been a proper flood impact assessment on removing hundreds of trees on the flooding of neighbouring homes? No.
Has Southwark even waited for Church permission before going ahead with destroying woods and graves on consecrated ground? No.
“Even we are shocked.” says Blanche Cameron, spokesperson for Camberwell Cemeteries campaign group Save Southwark Woods.
“What is Southwark playing at? Are they really this stupid? Cllr Peter John has been bulldozing through this disgraceful project for more than five years all based on getting to ‘re-use’ - and he hasn’t even done a feasibility study??”
“How incompetent ARE Southwark Councillors?? A feasibility study is the first thing you do. Any study now will just be a phoney document to support Southwark’s disgraceful project – after the fact.
“Southwark is spending millions destroying these beautiful old cemeteries, cutting down acres of woods to get at people’s graves underneath, throwing away our heritage for carpark-style burial plots without consulting families. And now without any justification it is even a good idea! It’s sick. Peter John and Southwark Councillors should be ashamed of themselves.”
Save Southwark Woods will be writing to the Council, the new Mayor and MPs to demand they release the scope of this ‘feasibility study’ immediately, and tell them once again that this project must be stopped immediately.
Skull and bones in full view dug up by Southwark Council in Camberwell Old Cemetery 2008
Image courtesy of South London Press, read article here...