Grave concerns mounting at Paddington Old Cemetery
PUBLISHED: 15:30 19 October 2017
Grave concerns are mounting at a Kilburn cemetery after asbestos was found in a mound planned for new burial plots.
Paddington Old Cemetery, in Willesden Lane, has seen its pathways dug up in recent months to accommodate new graves which has alarmed campaigners.
The Friends of Paddington Old Cemetery (FoPOC) held a meeting earlier this month to discuss concerns regarding the cemetery which also contains two Grade II listed chapels.
Lloyd Fothergill said: “When the council discovered the asbestos it stopped using the mound and started using the pathways. The council has now promised us they will stop digging up the pathways which is good news but we are still not sure about the status of the asbestos in the mound.
“We’re waiting for Brent and Veolia to determine whether the mound is safe to use. We’d also like to know who were allowed to dump waste there and who in the council signed that off? In the long term the friends would like to see the cemetery remain and retained for non commissioned use.”
The cemetery, designed by Thomas Little, opened in 1855 and is currently recognised in English Heritage’s register of historic parks and gardens.
Famous people buried there include Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear.
In 2013 Brent Council said there was “no space available for new burials at Paddington”.
Kevin Barrett, from FoPOC, added: “The asbestos issue needs to be looked at but my issue is all the extra burials is contributing to the loss of the cemetery’s character.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “The council advises that the level of asbestos does not pose a risk to neighbouring land or users of the cemetery and is now awaiting expert recommendations from a land contamination specialist on how this part of the site should be managed going forward. Once this has been confirmed, this section of the cemetery will be re-landscaped, removing the spoil and other debris to create a neat and well-maintained lawn.
She added: “The council has the authority to make changes to paths without seeking planning or other permission, however does not intend to convert any more pathways. The paths that have been removed to accommodate new grave plots will be replaced, in keeping with the older paths that remain in place.”