Letter: Parks and cemeteries in peril

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article about the plight of the public park (27 July), while highlighting an important point, misses an even more neglected area of urban space and heritage - our cemeteries. Those built by the Victorians were designed as parks to be enjoyed by the public and they contain many beautiful and historic monuments. Today these cemetery parks are overgrown and their monuments are disintegrating.

Even more dispiriting is the way in which modern cemeteries are blighting green spaces by perpetuating a sort of tombstone strip development which emerges as a monumental slum. Both old and new cemeteries have a value as works of art and architecture, repositories of history and environments of emotional and ecological significance.

Last year's International Encounter on Contemporary Cemeteries held in Seville, Spain observed that effective legislation has been hindered because it falls between different administrative departments. Any national agency to protect public parks should include cemeteries, old and new, in its remit.

Yours faithfully,

SAM WELLER

London, W8

29 July

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