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Friends of Firs Farm Wetlands have launched a campaign against a proposal by Enfield Council to build a crematorium on land at Firs Farm where the Friends have been planning to build a community hub.

The list of "site allocations" contained in the draft Enfield Local Plan, which is out for consultation until 13th September, includes the former car park on the Firs Lane side of the park and wetlands, listing it as suitable for construction of a new crematorium. However, the Friends say that the same parcel of land is where they hope to build the new community facility, which would incorporate a café, toilets and flexible space for the use of the local community. Included in the plans are a Changing Places toilet for the use of people with disabilities, as well as a sensory garden for people of all ages to enjoy. A planning application for the hub was submitted jointly by the Friends and Enfield Council.

firs farm local plan allocationThe area within Firs Farm allocated for provision of a new crematorium

The Friends' chair, Tony Guiver, is demanding that the council provides urgent clarification as to how the listing came about:

"So many people have worked hard since 2014 to create this valued community asset and flood relief scheme that ticks all boxes: health, education,  environment, recreation, biodiversity and sports. Enfield Council has spent more than £1m in developing Firs Farm Wetlands; while many organisations and big stakeholders have and continue to put funding into the community hub and future development of Firs Farm for all in the community."

firs farm crematorium lossesThe facilities that Friends of Firs Farm say will be lost if the crematorium is built

In a press release, the Friends ask supporters to object to the allocation on the grounds that it contradicts several policies set out in the Local Plan, that it will reduce the effectiveness of the flood alleviation scheme and that the inclusion of the land previously earmarked for the community hub jeopardises the continued availability for funding for local groups pledged by Thames Water and other donors. They include the form of words that supporters should use when submitting an objections - the deadline for objections is 13th September.

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply
09 Sep 2021 23:27

There's more information about the campaign against a crematorium at Firs Farm in this Enfield Dispatch report .
PGC Webmaster posted a reply
10 Sep 2021 17:26
The council leader, Nesil Caliskan, has written to the Friends of Firs Farm "assuring" them that "we will not be building on Firs Farm Wetlands – a cherished and much appreciated asset" and that "the plans the Friends of Firs Farm and Enfield Council have put together for a café and other facilities at Firs Farm will not be affected".

The council leader lists three sites allocated as potentially suitable for a burial ground or crematorium:
  • the area to the south of Firs Farm Wetlands, but not on the wetlands themselves
  • Church Street Recreation Ground (in Edmonton);
  • Sloeman's Farm (in Crews Hill).

However, the draft plan actually lists four sites and distinguishes between different potential uses:
  • Alma Road Open Space (Ponders End) - "new cemetery uses"
  • Firs Farm Recreation Ground (Part) - "a new crematorium use"
  • Sloemans Farm (Crews Hill) - "natural burial uses"
  • Church Street Burial Ground (Edmonton) - "crematorium"

So only one of the three sites mentioned by the council leader is actually an alternative crematorium site - Edmonton Recreation Ground. This is on the Great Cambridge Road (A10) directly opposite Edmonton Cemetery. However, like Firs Farm, this is a valued green area, with many trees, and is used for leisure and sport.

Note too that she says the council won't be building on "Firs Farm Wetlands" - which leaves open the possibility of building on other parts of "Firs Farm Recreation Ground", ie the area outlined in red on the Friends of Firs Farm's website, in which case the planned community hub would have to be sited in a different place than has been planned up to now.

Read the full letter below.

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