About 150 people attended last weekend's Public consultation event at the Rec and the questions and comments gave the loud and clear message to the council :
that our community want the Rec to stay as an open green space, to be improved and not used for burial.
We recognise that the passing of loved ones is an emotional affair and that people need to visit graves to grieve, but are also cognisant of the fact that we have limited space locally for the living and the deceased. We are not against burial, but urge Southwark (and Lewisham) to follow a sustainable policy which does not consume valuable amenity space; the previous extensions of Camberwell New Cemetery were supposed to last many years and yet are already full. Using the remaining space of Honor Oak Rec will merely delay the inevitable day when there is no more burial space available in Southwark and Lewisham - it is not a solution to the problem. In 2007 the Government stated it was supporting London boroughs in the reuse of burial grounds that are more than 75 years old.
Our suggested answers
- How often do you visit the cemeteries or crematoriums in Southwark?
- Enter frequency of visits to all Southwark cemeteries and Honor Oak Rec (which is part of Camberwell New Cemetery from the viewpoint of this questionnaire)
- What is the reason for your visit(s)?
- Tick all that apply
- Do you have a preference for burial or cremation?
- Answer truthfully. Obviously, if you say burial, then more burial space is required.
- If you have chosen burial as a preference please let us know what would be important to you when selecting a cemetery plot
- If you chose burial, then explain that you want a sustainable solution, encouraging grave reuse by lift-and-deepen. The Church of England recommends grave reuse after 50 years in its Churchyards' Handbook.
- Do you feel it is important for Southwark Council to continue to provide burial space for its residents
- If you feel that Southwark should provide burial space, then stress that this should be either by reuse of existing space, or by provision of new space outside the Borough
- Please rate the following options in order of those you feel most appropriate for the future of burials in the borough. Please number your preference from 1 to 8 with 1 being your first preference and 8 being your least favoured option.
- A. Re-use of common graves - 1
B. Re-use of private graves - 2
C. Use of burial chambers - 3
D. Find burial site outside of Southwark - 6
E. Share other cemetery or buy privately - 4
F. Find shared land with other councils - 5
G. Use some/all of Honor Oak Recreation Park - 8
H. Stop burying in Southwark Providing a burial service is not a statutory responsibility. - 7
Add comments stating the need for any Burial policy to be sustainable. Also note that when Camberwell New Cemetery opened, there was plenty of green space in the Borough and this is no longer the case; burial space should not be provided at the expense of amenity space.
The campaign to preserve the Rec is being supported by Fields in Trust as well as the Friends of Honor Oak Rec.