Plans by the Labour council to chop down 60 trees and dig up 60 graves as part of its plans for new burial space at Southwark Woods in Nunhead will go under the spotlight next week after pressure from Liberal Democrat opposition councillors.
At the last meeting of the council, Southwark Liberal Democrat councillors tabled a motion calling on the ruling Labour administration to carry out a new consultation exercise on where new burial space for Southwark residents is located. Labour refused to support the proposal.
In a last-ditch attempt Liberal Democrat councillors then wrote to the Chair of the Council’s main scrutiny committee asking for the borough’s cemeteries strategy and proposals for Southwark Woods to be looked at in more detail with a proper analysis of costs, alternatives and environmental impact.
The committee chair has now agreed to the Liberal Democrat request and the issue will now be investigated at a special meeting of the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 17 September.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, said:
“I am glad that the Council has agreed to look at the plans for Southwark Woods in more detail at its main scrutiny committee next week and thank the Chair for his decision.
“With over 9,000 signatures now opposing the Council’s plans for the trees, woodland and graves at Southwark Woods it is clear that this is a huge issue for our borough to get right.
“The special Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting dedicated to just Southwark Woods and the cemetery strategy will allow councillors to put the current plans under the microscope and discuss other courses of action.
“There are alternatives that would allow Southwark residents to still be buried in the borough that should be looked at properly, especially when it is clear the Council is proceeding on a flawed consultation that is four years old and mostly Lewisham residents responded.”