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!