Agenda and minutes

West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group - Wednesday 12 June 2019 5.30 pm

Venue: TH1 - 04, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, London, SW2 1RW

Contact: Nicholas Joseph, 0207 926 3123, Email:  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Declarations of Interest


    The Chair, Professor Bob Flanagan, welcomed all to the meeting and the following declarations of interest were raised: Jill Dudman stated that she is a cremation plot owner.


Election of the Chair and Vice-Chair

    To agree on the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group.


    To re-elect Professor Robert Flanagan as Chair of the West Norwood Cemetery

    Advisory Group for 2019/20.


Minutes of the Previous Advisory Group Meeting pdf icon PDF 127 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    To agree the minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group meeting on 03 April 2019.


    That the minutes of the meeting dated 03 April 2019 were agreed.


Minutes of the Previous Scheme of Management Committee pdf icon PDF 89 KB

    To agree the minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management Committee meeting on 01 May 2019.



    That the minutes of the meeting dated 01 May 2019 were agreed.


Project Manager NLHF Project Update pdf icon PDF 343 KB

    To also note and discuss the Public Engagement Plan.


    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, introduced the report, noting that:


          £6.7 million had been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), supplemented by capital receipts and contributions from the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery (FoWNC).  Permission to start had been received on 3 June 2019, with conditions on the Greek Chapel transfer.

          The transfer of ownership of the Greek Chapel was outstanding, with resolution expected by 28 June 2019, but the Greek Trust would contribute £75,000 for stabilising and refurbishing the Chapel.

          Project delivery activities would be coordinated through monthly project meetings chaired by Dan Thomas, reporting to the NLHF.

          It was proposed to have a Partnership Board to oversee operational matters, which was tied into seeking Consistory Court permission to dissolve the current governance arrangements. The board arranged to meet as a shadow board in the interim to oversee the NLHF works and was to elect its own chair.

          The delivery of additional entrances was pending public consultation and potential interference with graves, and would go to the Board for resolution if necessary.

          Funding shortfalls amounting to £80,000 over five years were detailed in the agenda pack, page 10. There was a contingency in the budget to cover this.

          Dan Thomas had responded to an objection on the potential Hubbard Road entrance regarding cycling in the cemetery.  It was noted that a Robson Road entrance would also encounter similar difficulties due to cyclists mounting the pavement and potentially using the cemetery as a cycling thoroughfare; that current signage was not deterring cycling and was difficult to enforce; that barriers to restrict cyclists would also impact on wheelchairs and prams; and, that a wider local consultation might be needed.

          The Grave owners work package had been agreed and would commence from July 2020.

          Coordination between the FoWNC and the Activities Coordinator was needed. FoWNC were full partners in the NLHF project and needed to be consulted re the activities envisaged.

          The Activities Coordinator needed to finalise the design of information boards, with three placed within the Cemetery and one at the front entrance, which were to detail the proposed NLHF works.



Capital Project Officer Update pdf icon PDF 339 KB

    To also note and discuss the trees/scrub maintenance and clearance.



    Dan Thomas Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:


          The Catacombs had been surveyed for the safety of future workers and visitors, with fairly positive overall outcomes as detailed in the agenda pack, pages 15-17, and was rated as not particularly hazardous to visit.

          The scaffolding had to be removed, with the eventual aim of replacing the former chapel building.

          Longer-term moisture tests would be conducted to help monitor the potential for further timber decay.

          There were a number of minor structural defects, but overall no major concerns existed.

          No bats were detected, although another survey was recommended following future works.

          The Catacombs would require a cover to protect the footprint of the former Chapel in the short term.

          Pit excavation had found a rudimentary waterproofing layer in certain areas, and officers had responded to the Chair’s input on an asphalt membrane, which would require further testing in collaboration with Historic England.

          The medium-term waterproofing options were presented, but required costing before progress.

          A walkway between the Cinema and Cemetery was discussed and it was noted that this was not considered integral by the NLHF, would require discussion with Picturehouse and possible variation of their license, and would present security concerns to the Cemetery.

          Completion of the Rose Garden resurfacing was delayed due to bad weather, but would be completed soon.  Nearby buildings were dependent on additional cemetery entrances, with some removed or others replaced for maintenance or worker use, with an alternative proposal to see above ground mausolea in the north-west corner.

          The Chair stressed that the Capital Works trees component needed to be actioned as a matter of urgency so that the risk of damage to monuments from falling vegetation could be mitigated. 



Operational Update pdf icon PDF 697 KB

    To also note and discuss the plastic in the cemetery.



    Jacqueline Landy, Bereavement Services Manager, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:


          The conifer removal programme continued, with letters sent to families to request clearance.

          Year 12 Dulwich College pupils would next undertake clearance on 26  June 2019, however it was not known if this programme would continue next year.

          The Community Payback team would switch to conifer removal, grave tidying and path clearance.

          The Rose Garden resurfacing should be complete by 17 June 2019 and photographs would be produced for the Advisory Group and Scheme of Management Committee.

          Mrs Beeton’s Memorial was to be cleaned and the headstone re-inscribed, with completion expected by the end of June, and was currently off-site. Jacqueline Landy advised of changes to the commission, in particular to the conservation of the possibly original kerbs.

          The Crematorium might need to be closed for 48 hours for Interserve capital works and officers needed to consider arrangements for the refrigeration of the deceased.

          The Maddick Mausoleum door’s glass panel had been fixed by two members of the Bereavement Services team, following a breakage on 23 February 2019.

          There were no changes to the Bereavement Services team, whilst the Cemeteries Maintenance Team still held vacancies and were also managing long term sickness.

          The issue of plastic and unauthorised objects on graves was noted; and owners would receive letters requesting offending items be moved pending a formal programme of removal of such objects.  In discussion, it was noted that a blanket removal policy was possible, but would result in concerns by grave owners. The meeting was sympathetic as to the problems this raised with BS staff.

          Jill Dudman noted that the external/outside door handles from the Maddick Mausoleum, a Grade 2 listed monument, had been stolen and needed replacement, with Jacqueline Landy to report back. It was noted that the internal handles were thought to be the same as the stolen handles hence could act as template for the new handles needed.

          Repair of the bronze bust of Benjamin Colls which someone had attempted to steal several years ago was also needed. The Monument is Grade II listed.