25 February 2011

Honor Oak Rec: The latest

There's been lots in the local media recently about the campaign to prevent Honor Oak Recreation Ground from being used as burial ground. As the local ward councillors we wanted to make it clear that we want the area to remain as recreation ground.

I think it's important to clarify two main issues:

- No decision has been made about using the Rec for burial space

- That a full and proper public consultation will take place before any decisions are made – and we will do all we can to make sure that local people's views are heard.

Southwark’s burial space is now very limited and a decision will need to be made in the next few months about the future of burial space provided by the council. Council officers have been asked to investigate the various options open to Southwark, these will be discussed by the Council Cabinet and then the public will be asked what they think and what their preferences might be.

As we feel very strongly about the Rec, and as it’s clear that many in the local community do too, we have met with the Cabinet Member to make clear the strength of feeling on this issue. It was a really encouraging meeting. We have received assurances that the council will properly investigate ALL possible options for the future of burial provision. This will mean consideration of a wide-range of options. Among them are: a full audit of the remaining unused burial space in our cemeteries, the council looking at other sites it could use or acquire for burial and the council investigating alternative burial methods that would use less space/be more sustainable.

The use of all or part of Honor Oak Rec is very likely to be one of the options the council will investigate as this land was acquired by the council for burial. We fully accept the argument that this was in 1901, that times change and that the Rec has become a valuable community asset. However, it would be dishonest to say the Rec will not be considered. Nevertheless, we are keen to stress that this is just one option. It’s simply not true, as some internet posts etc suggest, that Southwark ‘wants’ to turn the Rec into burial space.

Once all options have been investigated the public will be asked for their views. We have been given an assurance from the Cabinet Member that the decision will be led by residents – if it’s clear that the vast majority are against the use of Honor Oak Rec then the council will listen to that.


  1. if there was nothing underhand why have the council seemed fit to deny the public to the park before the hours of 8a.m.this is what caused all fuss - denial to the park, and now no mention is made of thefts. as this now all ceased because the public can no longer use the park before the hours of 8.a.m.

  2. The problem with this kind of local interest is that the locals who use the park on occasion will always be more vociferous than those who will need burial space in the local area.
    The people who have started the petition are being very dishonest when they say the Council want to use the Rec as burial land, it is actually the least preferred option at the moment.
    However a huge number of people opposing the use as a burial site are Lewisham Residents. They don't pay for the upkeep of the Rec and they won't have to pay the extra costs of providing more expensive burial land in the future. This will be bourne by Southwark residents, those who probably aren't as well off as those Lewisham residents who can afford to live in expensive Honor Oak.
    The land is owned by Southwark and was bought as a cemetery. Sensibly the Council only used small parcels of it as it was needed rather than having one sprawling cemetery. However the remaining land is now needed for it's original purpose.
    I used the Rec as a child and now live in Southwark and I want to be buried in Southwark when I die and I don't see why Lewisham residents should prevent that happening.

  3. Hi

    The post of 29 July makes some rather sweeping statements and I wonder whether it was actually written by someone working for Southwark Council. How does this person know that using the rec for extra burial space is the least preferred option? I have heard rumours that is it the preferred option as it will work out cheapest. Also, to say that Lewisham residents are better off because they can afford to live in Honor Oak is non-sensical - Southwark is full of equally nice areas and I know plenty of Southwark residents who want to keep this park. The fact is that the needs of the living are more important than those of the dead - this park is used for exercise and generally improves all residents' quality of life as it allows them to enjoy a wonderful outside space. Please sign the petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savehonoroakparkrec to keep it as a park - thanks!