30 August 2019
Cllr Kevin Davis, leader of the Conservative opposition and the new Chair of Kingston and Surbiton Labour Party, Conor Bollins calling on them to work together to keep the nature reserve free of development.
Tolworth Court Farm is arguably Kingston’s most historic site – farmed since the Domesday Book and home to a wide variety of rare species including birds of prey, butterflies and mammals. It is a local nature reserve and a site of borough importance for nature. It is designated as Metropolitan Open Land.
At the council meeting in July environment portfolio holder, Hilary Gander admitted administration councillors had held a meeting about turning Tolworth Court Farm into a natural burial cemetery. This followed several examples of behind the scenes lobbying by a Lib Dem councillor on behalf of a natural burial company over the preceding months.
Cllr Sharron Sumner said, “It is clear there has been a substantial amount of behind the scenes activity to promote alternative uses for Tolworth Court Farm. But this is arguably the borough’s most precious asset and needs to be preserved as a nature reserve for all to enjoy. A cemetery – natural or otherwise – is not and can never be an appropriate use for this wonderful space.
“I’m asking all parties in the Royal Borough to come together to keep it as the wild and natural place it is today. It’s time to put our political differences aside for the benefit of the community. So let’s form an open and cross party grouping to look after Tolworth Court Farm. Its future is more important than party politics.”