Agenda and minutes

West Norwood Cemetery Scheme Of Management Committee - Wednesday 13 November 2019 5.30 pm

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

Contact: David Rose, 0207 926 1037, Email:  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Welcomes and Introductions

    • View the background to item 1.


    The Chair, Nicholas Long, welcomed all to the meeting and the following declarations of interest were raised:

    ·           Nicholas Long was a grave owner; and,

    ·           Julian Briant was also a grave owner.



Election of Scheme of Management Committee Chair and Vice-Chair

    To agree on the election of the chair and Vice-Chair of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management Committee.


    The Clerk conducted the election of the Chairs.


    RESOLVED: To elect Nicholas Long as Chair of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management Committee (SoMC) for 2019/20.


    RESOLVED: To elect Councillor Peter Ely as Vice-Chair of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management Committee (SoMC) for 2019/20.



Minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management Committee (03.07.19) pdf icon PDF 127 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    To agree the minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Managmenet Committee meeting held on 03 July 2019.


    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 03 July 2019 be agreed as an accurate record of proceedings. 


    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 01 May 2019 be agreed as an accurate record of proceedings. 


    In discussion, it was noted that Jacqueline Landy would provide an update on the outstanding Deceased Online contract at the next cycle of meetings.




Minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group (30.10.19) pdf icon PDF 112 KB

    • View the background to item 4.

    To note the minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group held on 30 October 2019.


    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Management Advisory Group (MAG) meeting dated 30 October 2019 be noted.




Project Manager NLHF Project Update pdf icon PDF 298 KB

    • View the background to item 5.

    Additional documents:


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

    ·           Interaction with Greek Cathedral Trust had concluded, with the transfer of assets completed and contribution received; and subsequently the NLHF had given permission to proceed with the wider project.  Professor Flanagan, Chair of the MAG, noted his pleasure on progress with the transfer of the Greek Enclosure. Officers confirmed that there were no formal arrangements for input from the Greek Cathedral Trustees, as required within the contract, which allowed for their facilitation of visits and events.

    ·           Submissions for lead consultant, and architectural conservation and civil engineering packages had been received and were at the award stage; and an update would be provided at the next meeting.

    ·           Preeti Chapman-Kauffman, Delivery-Phase Project Manager, would report to the Project Board, with Dan Thomas to continue to report to the SoMC and MAG. Professor Flanagan considered the Project Manager, as a minimum, should attend MAG meetings.

    ·           This year’s financial year spend had been minimal, as per the original spend forecast.

    ·           Planning was underway to mitigate key risks to bereavement services and sensitivities arising from on-site construction.  The other current key risk was the obtaining of a Faculty which had necessitated hiring a consultant to take forward, alongside grave re-use proposals.

    ·           The Chair expressed concerns in respect of governance and project initiation in relation to the current Bid. He had specific concerns about a number of matters and felt certain actions had been taken either without delegated authority or without adequate communication or consultation. Officers noted the SoMC had signed-off funds and had, in their view, visibility for works throughout the submission.

    ·           The NLHF Implementation Board and NLHF Project Management Group terms of reference and updated job descriptions formed part of the submission to the NLHF, but it was noted that improved communications between these bodies and the MAG and SoMC was needed.  Officers offered to discuss appointments, authority, methodology of stakeholder engagement, delegations and monitoring with the SoMC and MAG Chairs.

    ·           Julian Briant recorded that the SoMC’s terms of reference stipulated that it was the sole body able to provide consent. Officers noted that there had not been a breach of mandate going beyond the previously agreed funding, but would work with the SoMC to increase consent and transparency.

    ·           The Chair requested that a clear statement be presented to the next SoMC on what had been agreed to strengthen governance and initiation.





Capital Project Officer Update pdf icon PDF 136 KB


    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, noted the report and provided the following responses to questions:

    ·           Hannah Radlowska, Project Officer, was back in post.

    ·           The structural survey on Nettlefold wall advised that it was in poor condition, difficult to repair and would impact on Tite Arch; and should be delivered alongside other major works to reduce costs.

    ·           Catacombs access works had been approved to provide safer access, with dates of installation by Colas Volkers Highways (CVU) to be confirmed.

    ·           There had been minor damage to the Catacombs scaffolding, with the contractor to undertake repairs to maintain waterproofing.  Appraised options for the Catacombs discounted a full scaffolding solution and a concrete foundation over the Catacombs, but would instead comprise a temporary blended solution of part-membrane, part-scaffolding.  Officers flagged this project corporately as a future capital requirement.

    ·           The capital programme still contained funds allocated for tree works. A site meeting had been held with Professor Flanagan, the Lambeth tree team and Bereavement Services officers, and the arboriculturalist would cost and specify urgent works next week via a contractor.  Professor Flanagan expressed his discontent that previous work on trees had been deemed unusable since actions arising from this work was still outstanding.  He also requested a more coherent tree management strategy with data gathered over previous reviews salvaged and incorporated, instead of seeing this work, and the associated time and cost, duplicated.  Officers noted that it was necessary to resurvey trees to raise work orders, instead of relying on old data which had not been entered into Eezytreev, the Council’s tree management system.

    ·           It was noted that the Talford Memorial and a further memorial by the Greek Enclosure had been demolished by falling branches and both required reinstatement, but that the damage had been caused by a lack of maintenance.






Operations Update pdf icon PDF 322 KB


    During the discussion of this item, Councillor Pete Elliott left the meeting at 18:20 and the meeting became inquorate, and was continued informally thereafter.


    Kevin Crook, Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:

    ·           The main grass-cutting had now ended for the year, with a check and partial cut to take place in December if weather allowed, and would restart in February/March.  Over the winter strimming in all areas of previous bramble removal would take place and remaining areas of bramble cleared.  Grass-cutting at Lambeth and Streatham Cemeteries had been given 2 - 2.5 hours extra operational time per day to increase productivity by creating mess facilities at Lambeth Cemetery. Professor Flanagan noted his surprise that conservation areas had been left uncut, as that had not been approved by the SoMC nor the MAG, and required formal approval.

    ·           Signs would be installed on or near memorial trees marked for removal prior to December 2019.

    ·           The Dulwich College volunteer group re-started in October and numbers had increased.

    ·           Five memorial benches were scheduled for removal in 2019 and would all go by end November, with 23 further benches with no information held to have notices placed on them for all of 2020, with removal of these 23 benches then scheduled into the overall programme.

    ·           Officers were working to replace two of the more damaged litter bins in the Cemetery.

    ·           Memorial safety had previously been neglected, but 10 Bereavement Services members had received Safety Inspection and Assessment of Memorials (SIAM) training to allow them to assess memorials under five feet in height.

    ·           Lambeth was procuring an application, successfully trialled in Lewisham, to photograph memorials and log locations.  This would generate letters to registered owners of unsafe memorials and keep records of correspondence, but would take time to fully log all the Cemetery’s monuments.

    ·           Some memorials might require to be laid flat for safety reasons, but Lambeth would consult the SoMC prior to such action.  The Chair noted that there had been previous agreement not to lay memorials flat, especially those of greater historical interest, but to shore them to reduce risk of collapse and avoid greater damage arising from being on the ground.  It was noted that the John Belcher Memorial had been laid flat during a previous exercise and that more damage and deterioration had occurred as a result.

    ·           Nunhead Cemetery had previously undertaken work to restore historic monuments, although officers had yet to review feedback.  The Chair noted that there were limits of public expenditure for private memorials, with Professor Flanagan stating that many issues arose from collapsed vaults due to previous Council actions, that the agreement of the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery (FoWNC) on grave re-use stipulated that headstones over graves be kept upright and in good condition, and that most of the potentially more dangerous memorials were introduced in the last 20 years, with the only record UK-death arising from a modern memorial. 

    ·           Professor Flanagan also noted that he was content to collaborate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Shadow Strategic Partnership Board pdf icon PDF 254 KB


    Kevin Crook, noted the Shadow Strategic Partnership Board minutes, and highlighted the below:

    ·           Item 5, process of termination of the SoMC, was with Peter Flockhart, Legal Services, to progress, which initially would be via a conference with Mark Ruffell.

    ·           Item 6, revised cemetery regulations, had seen some progress and Jacqueline Landy would have a draft ready by 26 November 2019.  There would be public consultation on regulation, but the SoMC and MAG Chairs would preview prior to consultation, with the SoMC to be the deciding authority.

    ·           Item 7, grave re-use, had seen little progress recently, but funds were being utilised to pay Paul Harrison to complete the draft policy and procedure document and to bring the initial pilot to fruition.

    ·           Item 8, memorial for stillborn babies, still required decision and it was proposed to potentially seek Faculty petition to install a new memorial in square 13 (Rose Garden), with the proposed design to  be submitted to upcoming meetings.  In discussion it was noted that scattering ashes was not permitted on the memorial but that remains could be scattered on the cemetery grounds elsewhere; that the current location was not suitable, being on top of four graves; and that records did not exist to confirm use of this memorial.  The Chair noted that an appropriate location was needed for the new memorial, and that whilst people were using the current memorial, it was not suitable to leave objects on or nearby.

    ·           Only one memorial had been recorded of being stored, in the catacombs, and a discussion on storing the current stillborn babies memorial was required.

    ·           It was confirmed that Paul Harrison, consultant, had been tasked to design proposals for updating paths and landscaping for the cremated remains plot.

    ·           Paul Barber noted that the retrospective Faculty (agenda pack, page 42) should more correctly be described as a confirmatory Faculty.

    ·           The Chair reiterated that work across the Board and work-streams required review and that a conversation between the Chairs and officers was necessary to improve channels of communication.

    ·           Professor Flanagan would converse with officers to provide a list of outstanding Cemetery actions.





NLHF Implementation Board pdf icon PDF 145 KB


    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes noted that the NLHF Implementation Board minutes had been provided for information and that the document was covered in discussion above.