Friday, 30 September 2011


Southwark's cemeteries consultation finishes
TODAY!  Friday 30 Sept!
If you haven't returned one of their questionnaires -
do it now on line!

There is an overwhelming number of people who do not want to lose this precious green space!
IT IS OPTION 8!  Leave it alone!

See South London Press today - page 6

Sunday, 25 September 2011

fantastic turnout! but more questionnaire returns needed!

FANTASTIC turnout yesterday for Southwark Council's last public event on their cemeteries consultation.
About 150 people attended and the questions and comments gave the message to the council loud and clear:
that our community want the Rec to stay as an open green space.
Improved and not used for burial.

BUT it was revealed that only 500 questionnaires have been returned (300 online and 200 paper ones)
if you have not submitted yours - then do it now!
pass this onto your contacts - friends, neighbours, clubs, schools ......

you only have until 30 September - next Friday - that's when the consultation ends.

Southwark Council are still saying that the Rec "is their least favoured option" but financially it is the cheapest so you need to tell them what you think!

here's the link:
cemeteries questionnaire

Friday, 23 September 2011

see you all tomorrow! sat 24th sept 1pm down at the Rec!

  • last consultation meeting put on by southwark council
  • tomorrow, saturday 24 september ON the REC!
  • starting at 1 pm
  • hear southwark's problems and ideas
  • tell them what you think about our precious green space
  • it's local, it's green, it's open, we can walk there
  • kids love it, they feel safe, they run and play there
  • we want to keep it!
  • carry on signing the petition
  • submit your views to southwark cemeteries questionnaire - ideas on a post further down!
  • check out views on se23 forum

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Playing field charity joins the campaign to keep the Rec!!
click on image to read article

south london press 9th September

Thursday, 18 August 2011

consultation? damp august squib? last event changed to Sat 24 Sept at the Rec!

One person turned up at the start of the meeting on 12th August in Tooley St so it was cancelled!

The 'Southwark Team' were all there to give the residents of the north of the borough all the information they needed about the possibilities for the future of Southwark's cemeteries and to hear their views. 

But it seems that either the date, the time, the venue, or indeed the consultation itself did not suit/interest many people. 

The Friends group had strongly suggested to the council that August was not the most favourable time to get a big turnout  ...... and a Friday night ..... ?!

And we also have been informed that the last public event due to take place on Saturday 10 September has now been postponed until
Saturday 24 September 1- 3 pm at Honor Oak Recreation ground
when we know there will be a good turnout because our community seriously value this as an open space and want it to be kept as such in perpetuity! 
At the Southwark event held at the Rec in July there were many local people attending.

We also understand that there may be real practical issues surrounding the short term burial solutions proposed by the Cabinet in April - so our Rec may be in more danger than we thought!

Remember to complete a questionnaire! 
ANYONE living in Southwark or Lewisham can do this!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

first public event gone, two more to go!

Southwark Council held their first public event to discuss the future of their cemeteries yesterday on the Recreation Ground.
Very nice - marquee with a carpet, cakes, drinks, coloured A3 information sheets - and the sound of children playing happily in the background added a welcome touch of irony!

Despite being a brilliant day for lounging in the sun, about 30 people turned up to hear Barrie Hargove, the key Cabinet councillor introduce the proceedings.  He was followed by Rebecca Towers, Parks and Open Spaces Manager giving the background to the consultation and then the options available detailed by Paul Harrison, a Landscape and Development consultant.

Some points from the meeting:

1.   The consultation is going to continue until the end of September.  Then all the questionnaires will be analysed and a report drawn up which will be on line.  This will be put to Cabinet in December and decisions made probably in Jan 2012

2.  It seems that although in April at the Cabinet meeting 8 years of short term burial space was determined and voted for (see post below), there may well be serious hitches and this may well have been overly optimistic

Namely, on site A adjacent to the picnic area, there are planning issues.  Also, soil and drainage sampling is still going on to verify the practicalities of burial there. 
One may ask why this wasn't begun in April, three months ago. 
Work is not well underway at Camberwell Old cemetery either where there is a plan to rebury on topped up public graves.  And there is only a handful of spaces left at Camberwell New cemetery.  Conclusion:  well under 8 years left .....

3.  People are being asked to respond to the questionnaire without being fully given information about costings which will obviously be a driving force for a cash strapped council.  Barrie Hargrove said that financially using the Rec would be the cheapest option even though it was the cabinet's "least preferred option".  Having said that, he also said that cemeteries count as recreational spaces for the living as well as for the dead! 

4.  Paul Harrison said that recycling of burial land has been going on throughout history, and it is only modern rules and sensitivity which are preventing it now. 
One person said she has changed her mind from burial to cremation to save green space.

5.  SC said this is a great exciting opportunity for people to say what they want and for the Council to be leaders and set an example for the other boroughs and forge new avenues on the burial issue .....   (editor's note: well, that would exclude using well used open green space then )


Complete the questionnaire!  see post below on where to find it!

Attend the next public events - again see below!

But the next one on the Rec again is
SCHOOLS are BACK so let's get a larger contingent down there!

And a last word:

What are the Lewisham councillors doing to help?
A motion in support of the Rec was passed by Lewisham Council in March but we know of little more which has happened apart from one meeting between the two leaders.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

burial consultation! everyone respond!

The long awaited burial consultation from Southwark Council has been launched!
EVERYONE who values open spaces can respond!

No matter WHERE you live - Southwark or Lewisham!

All residents - Southwark and Lewisham - living within a 1 km radius of the cemeteries should receive a questionnaire through the post this week.
If you don't , then contact

BUT we have to say that the questionnaire is deeply flawed.
We asked to be involved in its compilation but this did not happen.
The Friends group have had the questionnaire analysed by an independent social survey professional and his report will be publicised shortly on the blog.

However, it is what it is!
So this is what you can do:
If you wish to preserve this green space now and for future generations,
please respond to the survey NOW - it only takes ten minutes!

As a supporter of the Recreation Ground, you will want to make a return which conveys to Southwark Council the message that no part of the Rec should ever be used for burial

The best way to do this is to use any available comment space to say that the priority for the whole community is to protect valuable open green space and that no more of the Rec should be used for burial.

There may be varying views on this, and we understand this is a personal issue but tactically you may wish to consider the following to give the Rec a better chance:

Q3   tick for  cremation
Q5   No   (to continue burial in Southwark)
        followed in 5a with a comment about how important the Rec is for the living .....
Q6   G - Use the Rec   8    (the least favoured point on the given scale)

However, if you don't feel you can do this - you may be pro burial but not in Honor Oak Rec -
then you will have to find another way of getting your message across on the questionnaire!

How to find the questionnaire:
1.    on line  
cemeteries consultation questionnaire
2.    the cemetery office
3.    the coffee shop at Honor Oak Park station

Save a stamp! Paper questionnaires can be left at the coffee shop and we will get them to Southwark!

Go to one of the public events
There are 3 planned by Southwark to present the burial options, give people an opportunity to ask questions, get some answers, put forward their views and complete the questionnaire

1. Saturday 30 July 1 pm - 3.00 pm
in a marquee at Honor Oak Recreation ground

2. Friday 12 August 5.30 - 8 pm
at the Southwark Council offices in Tooley St

3. Saturday 10 September 1 pm - 4 pm
again in a marquee at Honor Oak Recreation ground

email the Southwark cabinet members or your local councillors expressing your views about how vital the Rec is to the local community
(email addresses further down the blog)
We can make our views known and be counted!
Pass this onto all your friends and contacts and let's get the message across to Southwark Council that the community do not want any part of the Rec used for burial, now and in the future!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Did you see The Times last Tuesday?

If not, here it is .....And we ask ourselves, what is happening to the promised consultation?

Monday, 25 April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

good news so far ....but the campaign must go on!

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Southwark Cabinet meeting yesterday. There was a good turnout both outside and in the room.

The Cabinet heard all 4 deputations:
from the Friends of Honor Oak Rec, from Hillyfielders football club, from Fairlawn school and from Friends of Peckham Rye Park.

The Cabinet decided to go for their short term plan which will provide about 8 years of burial using:
(a) the newly cleared site next to Honor Oak Park station (requires planning permission)
(b) an area of unused space in Camberwell New Cemetery
(c) an area of common graves in Camberwell Old Cemetery
Map link below

A full and wide reaching consultation on longer term proposals will be rolled out very shortly and the use of the Rec for burial will be included in this,
BUT two amendments were also passed:

One stating that the Cabinet's view is that the use of the Rec is the least favoured long term option

and the second, that Southwark will be looking to work closely with Lewisham and other councils to deliver long term solutions to the burial issues throughout London

We see this as a minor victory and would like to thank all the supporters who have been active and all those who have signed the petitions. Your voice was heard! especially through all the emails which were sent. The Cabinet specifically referred to the high number of emails and letters which they had received!

BUT the campaign goes on!
The consultation is critical for us!
We need to make sure that everyone in our area who uses the Rec is heard.
We have asked for all Lewisham residents who live within 1km of the cemeteries to be consulted as well as stakeholder groups
The draft list and consultation questions are on a link below, so please take the time to look and if you have any comments/suggestions which need to go to Southwark, forward them to
What we need to do now is to ensure that our view is heard loud and clear in the consultation process and that Lewisham Council is encouraged to engage actively with Southwark to provide long term alternatives to burial and thus protect the Rec.

click here to see the maps
click here to see the draft consultation process
click here to see the Southwark Cabinet papers item 8
click here to see the extract from the draft minutes of the meeting

Friday, 8 April 2011

important southwark meeting! Tues 19 April 3.30 come and lobby!

The Southwark cabinet meeting to discuss burial options is approaching fast:
Tuesday 19 April 4 pm at Southwark Town Hall, Peckham Road, Camberwell, SE5 8UB
What you can do to help:

1. Come down to the Town Hall between 3.30 and 4.30 to lobby outside

Bring flags/placards, come with friends and kids, people from your street/school to help the cabinet members realise how much this green space means to us.

Help publicise the lobby - here's a flier to pass around/put in your window:
2. Remember to email/write to the Cabinet members - email addresses on a posting below

3. If you need any convincing ...

The Hillyfielders football club
have made a brilliant film about how they use the Rec and how vital it is for them.
Watch it here and pass the link onto friends ....

See you on the 19th! Paper and e petition now over 2,400

Monday, 4 April 2011

well over 2000 supporters!

We've been collecting some of the paper petitions, and with the e-petition, we are a force of .... 2,368 - and they're not all in yet! Dave Stephens at Honor Oak station's Coffee Bean has offered to be a collecting point so you can drop them off with him. So thanks to everyone who has signed ..... please don't stop spreading the word and gaining support.

And remember to email/write to the cabinet members prior to their meeting on Tuesday 19 April when they will decide on burial options for Southwark.
(emails below) The Rec is not an option!

Approaching 2012, the year of the Olympics in the UK, Southwark Council believe that this "offers residents and particularly young people a unique opportunity to become involved ...... sports events ... learning new skills .... an opportunity not to be missed."

Taken from Southwark Cabinet Meeting Minutes 22 March 11

The minutes go on: "priority areas we have identified" which include "engaging young people, getting active, being healthy ....."

Hey, all these things go on at HONOR OAK RECREATION GROUND!!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

lewisham mayor meets southwark leader!

NEWS: The mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock, met with the leader of Southwark council, Cllr Peter John, last week.
Cllr John reassured the mayor that Southwark are reviewing this issue and there are no immediate plans to use the Rec for burial. They also agreed to work together on longer term solutions to the limited burial space in Lewisham and Southwark.

A great start, but what is needed is a joint commitment to protect the Rec as a permanent open green space, now and for the future. The campaign will go on!

A reminder to all supporters that Southwark Council cabinet are meeting on 19 April to discuss burial options. Yes, we say that the Rec should NOT be one of those options.

So, if you haven't emailed Barrie Hargrove and the other Cabinet members, then please do so now. Tell them why the Rec should not be used for burial, why it should be protected and why you think the that free open green space is vital for our community!
email addresses below in a lower post ......

Sunday, 20 March 2011

cabinet meeting postponed until April!

The Southwark cabinet meeting to discuss burial options has been postponed until 19 April so you have a little more time to email those cabinet members below!
We still say that the Rec should not be considered as one of those options.

But why the postponement?
The comprehensive burial audit taking longer than expected?
Meaningful discussions, liaison and planning happening between neighbouring boroughs?
A realisation of the importance of local green space in our city and the need for its protection?
Or to have a consultation period that includes the Easter and Royal wedding holiday periods?!

Please start to collect any paper petitions you have put out into the community and take them to Dave Stephens at the coffee shop at Honor Oak station - thanks!

And by the way, Joan Ruddock has signed the e-petition!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

more good news and next steps!

3 Southwark councillors for Peckham Rye ward - Victoria Mills, Renata Hamvas and Gavin Edwards - have stated publicly that they support the protection of the whole Rec as a public green space. However .... there is a Southwark Cabinet meeting on 22 March where decisions will be made on burial options.

What you can do:

Step 1 email or write to the Cabinet members to tell them why the Rec is important to you and that using the Rec for burial should not be one of the options

Step 2 If you are connected to a local school or group, ask them to email or write to the Cabinet members

Time is short! Take a few minutes to do it now!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Lewisham Council backs bid to save the Rec

Good news!

Cllrs Alex Feakes and Pauline Morrison proposed and seconded the motion below, which was passed unanimously by Lewisham Council:

"The London Borough of Southwark is considering taking land from the Honor Oak Recreation Ground in order to expand Camberwell New Cemetery. The Recreation Ground is much used by residents of Forest Hill and Honor Oak, as well as Southwark residents, and the plan under consideration could result in considerable loss of local amenity and leisure space.

This council notes that the Recreation Ground has already had a substantial proportion of its original land taken in by the cemetery, and that other options are available for managing demand for burial space.

This council states its opposition to the further loss of amenity and leisure space at Honor Oak Recreation Ground and, notwithstanding any statutory consultation that may occur, calls on the Mayor to make representations to London Borough of Southwark to this effect."

This is a positive first step! Ready for the next one .........

Sunday, 20 February 2011

sunday 27 feb: support continues to grow!

community support:
We have well over a thousand signatures on the e-petition and there are many posters and paper petitions out there in shops, cafes, stations, churches, community groups, schools and school councils .......

If you want to sign the e-petition, print any posters or petitions, click on that link on the right .......

Keep spreading the word and gaining support! People really care about this open space!
They want it kept now and for the future!

We don't need to wait for some sort of consultation - we are letting Southwark Council know now!

After all, Barrie Hargrove spoke on BBC London News saying: "We've now reached the point where Southwark cemeteries are almost full and we need to consider different options and one of the options is to reclaim the Recreation Ground."

media stuff:
We had lots of great coverage on BBC London News, Radio 4 Today programme and the South London Press.
This is all now easily available for you to look at on our new Media page - click on the Media link on the right ........

And keep a look out in the New Shopper, Southwark News and SE23 Forum

council business:
We hear that the Southwark Council meeting to discuss burial options has been put back to the end of March. We understand that this will be informed by a burial audit but we are still waiting to find out more details. It isn't for want of trying ......

Meanwhile, in Lewisham, Cllr John Bowen has informed the Friends group he intends to put forward the following motion at the next Lewisham Council meeting on 1 March:

"The London Borough of Southwark is considering taking land from the Honor Oak Recreation Ground in order to expand Camberwell New Cemetery. The Recreation Ground is much used by residents of Forest Hill and Honor Oak, as well as Southwark residents, and the plan under consideration could result in considerable loss of local amenity and leisure space.

This council notes that the Recreation Ground has already had a substantial proportion of its original land taken in by the cemetery, and that other options are available for managing demand for burial space.

This council states its opposition to the further loss of amenity and leisure space at Honor Oak Recreation Ground and, notwithstanding any statutory consultation that may occur, calls on the Mayor to make representations to London Borough of Southwark to this effect."

John Bowen (Liberal Democrats, Crofton Park Ward)

If you are a Lewisham resident,
write to your councillors calling on them to support this motion without reservation.

If you are a Southwark resident, write to your councillors and let them know what you think!

This is not a party political issue or a single borough issue but one that affects everybody who lives near to or uses the Recreation Ground!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Campaign to Save the Rec Goes National!!

The Campaign to Save Honor Oak Rec hits the national media

Radio 4 - Today programme did a piece on the shortage of burial space, particularly in London. The item highlighted the tension between open space for the living and space for burial, and focussed on our rec.

We will all, no doubt, have differing views about burial, but that is not the point at issue. Burial in its current form is unsustainable. There may be a shortage of burial space now, but even if the rec is taken for burials there will still be exactly the same problem in a few years - but no recreation ground.

What we need is a sustainable solution to the burial issue, that allows the rec to be protected for the living!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Poster and Petition Launched!!!

things we can do now:
  • sign the e-petition, click here

  • get local friends to sign the e-petition

  • download and print the poster and display in your window

    click on the pictures
    to download now

  • print poster and paper-petition and circulate to local friends, shops, schools, libraries etc

  • continue to contact ward councillors

  • check back here for updates

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Our Recreation Ground under threat - We need you!


(Formerly Friends of Honor Oak Park FOHOP;
Formerly Honor Oak Park Action Group, HOPAG)

We had to change our name once again to keep up with the changing fortunes and challenges our beloved Honor Oak Park continues to face.

Our Honor Oak Park Recreation Ground is under threat as Southwark Council faces pressure to provide cemetery/burial provision. Southwark has only one year's supply of spaces for burials.

This is the alarming suggestion taken from James Barber’s blog, Lib Deb Councillor for East Dulwich:

“Second option is to use an adjacent sports playing field giving another 25 years of burial plots.”

These are the questions we are asking Southwark council
  • When is audit of burial space in Southwark being carried out? When can we see this burial audit?
  • We understand that the next area destined for burials is the old Nursery site near the road which is being prepared now..Information is that this will only last 12 months or so at the current rate of burial. Is this correct? Then what?
  • We have just learnt that there is to be a meeting in February. What will happen at this meeting?
  • What are Southwark Council’s long term sustainable plans for burial?
  • When is the full public consultation planned for?
  • Who will be consulted and how? And what is the timescale?
  • We want Lewisham councillors to be involved as this is an important neglected border site that has a huge impact on Lewisham residents and most importantly local children
If you are a Lewisham resident please contact/email/write to your local ward councillor, tell them how you feel about this. How you use the recreation ground and what it means to you as your local green space. But also we need to tell Southwark Council how we feel too, see below,

If you are a Southwark resident and you use this green space please help us apply pressure on Southwark Council. We value your suppport.

Lewisham - find your Councillor by Ward