The Friends of Streatham Cemetery, Tooting, Wandsworth was set up in 2009 with the express purpose of caring for this remarkable 45 acre site, re-imagining it as a community resource. It has fallen into disrepair in recent years; gates into the cemetery have been closed and locally, it has become a forgotten and hidden place.
The Friends group, with a core committee of 5 and a (growing) membership of 30, are negotiating with both Lambeth Council who run the space and Wandsworth Council to bring together bio-diversity officers, tree officers, green community officers, local schools along with Groundwork, the South London Botanical Institute, Community Probation Payback teams, the Victorian Society, neighbouring Springfield Hospital, as well as residents and mourners.
Tooting is densely urban, dominated by the ‘traffic corridor’ of A24 and short of green spaces near the town centre. This site has huge scope for radically altering Tooting’s access to outdoor spaces. Grassroots grants have given £5000 to advance plans for a community orchard, bees, an Asian Herb Garden and the re roofing of the Victorian Chapel as a community and education resource.
Transition Town Tooting are closely involved creating a connection with foodgrowing groups and energy groups. An ambition plan to create a ‘Green Lanes’ project proposes a new path for pedestrians and cyclists to connect Springfield Hospital to the cemetery and into Fishponds Playing Field. This would contribute qualitatively to the well-being and health of residents in the area able to take gentle recreation in the area and would help to generate profile and interest in new food growing projects in the cemetery to include herb gardens, bee-keeping, greenhouses and orchards.
Friends of Streatham Cemetery is a member of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends to pioneer renewal of these underused urban green spaces.
Source: Capital Growth Space 999