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HOP Recreation Ground to Become a Cemetery?
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PaperBagBadger


Posts: 24
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #1
13-02-2011 03:02 PM

Thought I would post a new thread with HOP Recreation Ground being the main focus although there has been some useful points made on the thread 'What's happening on the building site next to HOP station?'

A burial audit has apparently been carried out by Southwark Council and proposals are due to be put to a meeting this month. Friends of HOP Recreation Ground understand that the next place planned for burials is the area on the old Southwark Nursery site behind the big wooden gates guarding all the diggers. This has space for 600 which according to SC will last a year. Then, since they state they acquired the whole area for burial over a century ago, they plan to take the Rec.

This destruction of a popular local green space which is used fully by the community is unacceptable and the Friends group have launched a campaign for the Rec to be protected.

Sign the e-petition here:
http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/sa...oakparkrec

and look on the updated HOPAG blog for details of what else you can do:
http://honoroakparkrecreationground.blogspot.com/

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #2
13-02-2011 04:14 PM

This would not be a problem if cremations were compulsory.

Whilst every one should have the right to chose we simple have not got enough land , especially in the big cities.

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davidwhiting


Posts: 74
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #3
13-02-2011 06:06 PM

I wish you well in your campaign.

This has been going on for many years now, and it must have been 20 years or so ago that I attended a meeting with Southwark to protest at their first plans to expand the cemetery.

Southwark are adamant that the recreation ground is not designated as public open space. It has always been designated as burial ground, and they intend to use it as such.

The problem is not in truth that a minority of people do not accept cremation (which is far from an environmentally wonderful solution - it uses a vast amount of fossil fuel). It is that, as far as I know, uniquely in Europe, it is not possible to re-use burial land after a period of years. Local authorities have attempted to get goverment to change the position, but without success. Those committed to burial do not like the idea at all. When I chaired the relevant committee in Lewisham, we looked at what action we could take now to help matters in the future. One approach was to make it cheaper to purchase a deep plot (able to take four burials), than a single burial grave. You can guess what happened. We sold almost no deep plots, and while it might have helped the finances of the cemeteries dept, it did not contribute much to the long term problem of cemetery land supply.

Personally, I think Southwark are being short sighted. As you indicate, the extra land will not keep them going very long, and when it runs out, they will have to engage sympathetically with their local communities about how to deal with the problem. Fairly obviously, the only solutions will be either to acquire land further out from London - assuming that out of town local authorities are prepared to grant permissions; or for Southwark undertakers to use the cemeteries of other London authorities, putting more pressure on them.

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Satchers


Posts: 262
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #4
13-02-2011 10:15 PM

It does seem to be a pretty important resource to protect and has been very well used when I have been there.

Southwark Councillors may be saying that they should look at it for an expansion to the cemetery but they also have a responsibility to provide sports pitches for the borough. In my experience Sport England are VERY resistant to the loss of any pitches that are currently in use and have a lot of weight behind them in the form of Planning Policy Guidance note 17 (NB the Government is currently rewriting all national planning guidance and who knows what the new version will contain!).

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publicatio...guidance17

I would suggest contacting Sport England, also making sure that there are current and good records about how often it is used and by whom.

Good luck

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PaperBagBadger


Posts: 24
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #5
14-02-2011 01:00 PM

Thanks Satchers. Have now contacted Sport England, London Playing Fields Association and London FA. Any other ideas anyone?

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NewForester


Posts: 377
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #6
14-02-2011 06:56 PM

Don't delay! Sign the petition now - Southwark are due to make a decision this month according to their forward plan

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tricky128


Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #7
15-02-2011 10:36 AM

I've signed, my young daughters go to the playground almost everyday with either my wife or I, over my dead body will this happen....

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #8
15-02-2011 11:32 AM

Someone should volunteer to speak up for the interests of the dead - a demographic group with which increasingly I find myself identifying.

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michael


Posts: 3,196
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
15-02-2011 12:21 PM

It looks like the needs of the dead will be put ahead of those of the living by Southwark council.

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Southlonder


Posts: 119
Joined: Aug 2009
Post: #10
15-02-2011 05:49 PM

this would be something that journalists would probably find interesting enough to cover

I suggest that whoever is running the petition contact the Standard, I bet they would find it newsworthy as it clearly has wider ramifications

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theplanner


Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #11
15-02-2011 06:02 PM

I'm devastated - this is such an important piece of open space - one example being kids playing football every weekend - I would imagine that the Council will need planning permission to change the use of the land even though they own it. This would be the time to crank up the opposition given the loss of playing fields.

Nothing seems to have been submitted at the moment, although an application for "Change of use of part of recreation ground to burial ground as extension to existing cemetery" was submitted and withdrawn in 2000 before being determined. This is the type of application where local oppostion could make a difference.

PaperBagBadger - have you had any response from Sport England etc?

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #12
15-02-2011 06:09 PM

Let the dead bury the dead, (and find their own space too) - this is a valuable resource for local schools as well - ie for sports day.

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Woody


Posts: 61
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #13
15-02-2011 07:51 PM

My daughter learnt to ride her bike on the rec and both of my children spent many happy hours in the playground.

It would be a tragedy if other local children were denied the same opportunity. There isn't exactly an oversupply of flat public open space in the HOP area.

And who will want to visit a playground surrounded on all sides by graves. It is bad enough already thanks to Southwark's cynical decision to cut down all of the vegetation that was screening the new burials on the old nursery site from the recreation ground.

Around 75% of people already opt for cremation. How fair is it to sacrifice public open space for a ever decreasing minority?

If anything we should be converting the existing cemeteries into parks and wildlife reserves. Within a few years of becoming full they invariably end up as depressing neglected spaces which only seem to attract vandals and other broken individuals.

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ruthb


Posts: 63
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #14
15-02-2011 09:39 PM

I have a contact at the SLP so will speak to her about this... shall I give the details of the blog in case she wants to talk to someone about it? We use the rec all the time, and it is great on a saturday with the footie classes for kids - would be a tragedy to lose such a valuable local resource.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #15
15-02-2011 09:45 PM

Sorry, I can't believe what I'm reading in some of these posts. If the deceased were an -ism I'd say half of these posts were guilty of ' deadism' and fall foul of some equalities legislation! Seemingly most of you have taken the pill of eternal life and assume that you will never yourselves need such suitable accommodation. Perhaps the war graves of Ypres and Flanders ought also to be razed and holiday homes built with a nice new Eurostar link. These graves are after all nearly 100 years old now, so who would care anyway, and the War Graves commission could save the money spent on their upkeep. Whatever next.

The needs of the dead are also very much the needs of the living who are left behind and are actually this will be the need of all of us. As anyone who has lost someone close will testify, such places become ' homes' for the deceased and a place to go and recall fond memories and to pay respects.

I think its a shame if the Rec is to go however if it is indeed been acquired and meant as a burial place with a temporary use as a football pitch then I can't see how that can be changed easily but perhaps there is a way in which it could be better used. There is a clear demand on land for burial spaces so what are the alternatives other than cremation. There may be some innovations around the world that could be looked into. I would think high density design might have to feature here too as well as new housing!

The fact that a playground is surrounded by graves isn-t the usual vista for children playing ( hasn't it always been that way anyway?) but would they necessarily worry about it unless we as parents instill our own anxieties and fears into them? And can we or should we realistically shade children from the realities of the end of life? The Victorians were surrounded by death, it was always present for them whereas we lead more sheltered existences these days given our life expectancy and good health. s a society we seem to run away from addressing the inevitable.

I do also think that there is a myth around burial plots. You might lay someone to rest in a grave with a memorial stone on top however in a few years the ground will shift and deceased persons will literally, be on the move. This happened to my parents graveyard which was on a site on a hill. You will never really know who is directly underneath the headstone but it is likely not to be the original occupant. I do think people who opt for burial or whose families prefer this need to be encouraged to be realistic about the graves themselves and to look towards a more sustainable way of continuing the burial tradition but in a less land hungry way, as Dave has discussed above.

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ruthb


Posts: 63
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #16
15-02-2011 10:00 PM

Roz, I don't think anyone here is suggesting we remove the the existing cemetaries, as far as I can see the issue is with keeping the land that is currently used as a playground/recreation ground as such.

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Woody


Posts: 61
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #17
15-02-2011 10:09 PM

Roz is quite correct in pointing out that the Recreation Ground was originally acquired (by Camberwell Council) to provide burial space.

However, that was back in 1901 and since then things have changed. Looking at the old maps you can see that Forest Hill and Honor Oak were far less developed and at the time there were plenty of fields and other open spaces.

People's attitude to cremation has also changed following their introduction in 1885. In 1901 the cremation rate was only 0.07%.

I don't think that the majority of those who are objecting to Southwark's proposals are saying that burial shouldn't be allowed or that relatives shouldn't be allowed a place to grieve. Rather they are questioning whether a graveyard is the best use of the limited supply of urban public open space.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #18
16-02-2011 12:50 PM

At present overall costs of cremation and burial are about 300% plus more. Despite the high cost many people prefer their relatives to be buried. This is a very difficult problem , as someone said way back in 1901 SE23 was full of green spaces.

No one is suggesting surely the removal of existing graves, especially in places like Ieper, but maybe we need to look at future burials based on lack of space in London. Perhaps a tax as well raising the difference to say 500% over cremation might help.

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theplanner


Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #19
16-02-2011 01:17 PM

Woddy - spot on - it's not about disapproving of burials or not wanting to support those who prefer it, but it is about whether that is a preferable use of land than as a public open space. I don't think anyone posting wants to offend anyone but I think the loss of a loved park has frankly upset the people who use it.

Maybe those wishing to be buried and their families might travel a little further out of London to areas where greenspace is more in abundance. It is clearly preferable to have open space near to where people live. What happens when this site reaches capacity - move on to Peckham Rye next? A longer term solution in a wider context is required to this problem.

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michael


Posts: 3,196
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #20
16-02-2011 01:24 PM

The solution to lack of burial sites is not to remove open land from public use in densely populated areas, it is to do exactly what the Victorians did when the opened Camberwell, Nunhead, and other cemeteries in what are now London suburbs. They should be outside urban/suburban areas, close to the M25 and to rail connections from population centres in Southwark. This is exactly what other councils (Westminster) already do and has a long tradition in Britain.

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