The future of Camberwell Old Cemetery’s wooded area will be discussed at a public meeting on Wednesday.
Southwark Council’s proposal to convert the site into 1,000 new burial plots has been met with concern by some residents.
A petition calling for the preservation of the green patch has been signed by over 2,000 people.
A Southwark Council spokesperson said: “The so-called ‘Southwark Woodlands’ in fact refers to an overgrown and contaminated area within Camberwell Old Cemetery currently fenced off to members of the public. The area was badly damaged after being used as an illegal dumping ground and has been out of bounds since.”
The council has vowed to maintain the biodiversity of the site as part of the change, and will retain 53 significant mature trees on the site.
Councillor Darren Merrill, cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: “For years now, sections of the cemetery have been fenced off and left in disarray. Once restored, local people will be able to enjoy the amenity of the cemetery with thriving wildlife, vegetation and flora.”
There is a severe shortage of plots in the borough, with spaces expected to run out within three years.
The meeting between representatives of the council and the London Wildlife Trust will take place at 7pm on Wednesday February 11 at Honor Oak Baptist Church.