Fencing blocking off part of Camberwell New Cemetery after it reopened to the public was left locked up up in error, Southwark Council confirmed this week.
Yvonne Nelson contacted the News last Thursday (August 6) after she went to pay her respects to a loved one on July 28.
Despite the council website saying Brenchley Gardens had reopened, when she arrived she was faced with a padlocked fence and unable to enter – and also surprised by changes to parking at Honor Oak Recreation Ground which is now paid-for.
“Not being able to access their grave site was very distressing for me, a cemetery is a place where people mourn, a place to feel close to those who are no longer here,” she explained.
Although several people have contacted the News over the last few months shocked to find themselves paying for parking, there are still free spaces in the main cemetery car park – it is within Southwark’s parks that fees have been put in place.
Cllr Rebecca Lury, cabinet member for culture, leisure, equalities and communities, confirmed that Camberwell New Cemetery is very much open.
She explained that the gate had been left locked accidentally after the reopening.
“We are sorry that Ms Nelson had trouble accessing the cemetery from the Recreation Ground car park, as we offer free parking within all our cemeteries,” she said.
“Road access is blocked from the Recreation Ground Parking facility to cut off a rat run through the cemetery.
“Although access on foot is possible within opening hours. However, it did come to our attention that our contractor had missed the recreation ground pedestrian gate when opening the cemetery at the beginning of last week, but we took immediate action to ensure this will not happen again.”
She said the council advises anyone visiting to check the council’s website first. During opening hours visitors can drive through the main entrance and park on the other side of the fenced-off car park for free.