The Mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock, has met with the Leader of Southwark Council to discuss Southwark's proposals to bring the recreation ground into use as additional burials grounds. A report will be discussed by Southwark’s Cabinet on 18 April to agree to go for a consultation with local residents. In the meantime the South London Leaders will be discussing joint ways of alleviating the demand for burial spaces in an attempt to find solutions.
At the Council Meeting on Tuesday 1 March, Cllr Morrison seconded the following motion proposed by Cllr Alex Peakes to save the future of Honor Oak Recreation Ground, by asking the Mayor to lobby LB Southwark on behalf of local residents, to save their park.
In seconding the motion, Cllr Morrison said that Honor Oak Park had been her local park for many years, her children played there and indeed she had played for a women’s football team there! The motion was agreed by the whole 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.
Southwark Council have announced that they will be considering a report next month which will recommend options to take more or all of the remaining park area, enjoyed by many Honor Oak and Crofton Park residents, to extend their burial grounds.
Naturally, local residents are very angry and regard the park and football pitches as theirs even though it is owned by Southwark. I have spoken to the Cabinet Member for Environment in Southwark and he has promised a public meeting for Lewisham residents when the report is published.