Search

‘It’s a balancing act’: Highgate Cemetery boss defends consultation over future

PUBLISHED: 11:59 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:08 25 September 2018

A view of Highgate Cemetery East in Highgate, north London.

A view of Highgate Cemetery East in Highgate, north London.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Highgate Cemetery bosses have launched a public consultation on it’s future development plan as it looks to balance sustainability with its continuing tourist appeal.

The cemetery is asking members of the pubic about a 188 plan which looks to decide how the cemetery should best look after its trees, continue as an active burial ground and make visiting “easier and more rewarding”.

Critics of the consultation have called it a “PR circus” but Dr Ian Dungavell defended the plans, which include the idea of opening the west cemetery to tourists. Currently, it is only accessible through guided tours.

Dr Dungavell said: “It’s a balancing act, and of course people are going to have strong opinions. It’s a matter of finding a way of conserving the cemetery and keeping it looked after.

“in the past, it’s been preferred to allow a sort of managed neglect, but the cemetery is now suffering – you can see trees damaging burials for example.

“Highgate is probably Britain’s most historic cemetery, and we need to take action to deal with the creeping problems. It’s not a normal cemetery, and we need to tackle to issues: We’re running out of space for new graves, and trees are causing structural damage. This is about how we do these things.”
Caroline Coombes, a long-time Friend of Highgate Cemetery, told this newspaper: “It’s a PR exercise. The problem is there’s an enormous amount of apathy among the Highgate community and amongst the membership of the Friends.

“Out of all the people who responded to last year’s questionnaire, hardly any were from the friends group or even from Highgate.”

“It seems the present management of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery will do exactly as it pleases.

Dr Dungavell said it was wrong to cite apathy amongst the community. “I don’t recognise that,” he told this newspaper,

“We had 76 responses locally last year, and 106 within London more generally.”

The consultation will last until September 30, and then the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust will look to create an “implementation plan” which could span the next decade.

Highgate Cemetery is managed by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, which took over the running of the historic burial ground in 1975 and obtained the freehold in 1981.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

30 minutes ago

Camden’s youngsters were in the spotlight at the Shaw Theatre for an evening celebrating the borough’s talent.

Yesterday, 15:35

Wage cuts for nurses covering sick leave and other increases in demand at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital have been postponed after workers threatened to cancel shifts en masse.

Yesterday, 15:00

Brexit uncertainty is one reason for a slowdown in Camden house prices, said a leading estate agent after new data showed that property values in the borough fell 0.8 per cent in August and 2.1pc in the last 12 months.

Yesterday, 14:05

Tickets for a public meeting into the future of the Phoenix Cinema have sold out within days of it being announced.

Yesterday, 13:57

Mitzvah Day volunteers from Hampstead were among those taking part in Sewa Day – a Hindu day of community action – in Kingsbury, Brent this weekend.

Yesterday, 10:29

As part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Haringey Police have been engaging with the community to raise awareness of the importance of reporting abuse and discrimination.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Community groups are celebrating after the owners of the “landmark” Alliance pub in West Hampstead had planning permission for extensive remodelling and redevelopment refused.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Twenty-five people, including eleven in Camden, have been charged with drugs offences after two-days of dawn raids in Camden, Islington, Brent and Lambeth.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now