Musical events at Stoke Newington cemetery are “sacrilegious”, say neighbour

Abney Park Cemetery

Abney Park Cemetery - Credit: Archant

The people running a 19th-century cemetery have been accused of “sacrilege” after applying for an entertainment licence there.

Abney Park Trust, which oversees Abney Park cemetery in Stoke Newington High Street, has applied for a licence to show plays, films and dance performances until 11pm every day and for music until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 10pm from Sundays to Thursdays.

Bernard Bourdillon, chair of Abney Park Trust said the goal was to help make the cemetery more of a part of the community – but neighbouring resident Peter Cottle said he was disgusted on hearing about the plans this week.

The 75-year-old resident of Yoakley Road said: “I think it’s disgraceful and I think it’s sacrilegious.

“There are large number of war graves of people who died serving their country during World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

“There is the danger that people will sit on the graves or be left in the cemetery after events finish.

“It’s also a nature reserve. There are owls which roost there.

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“Animals will be frightened away by the noise.

“The cemetery borders an old folk’s home and there are frail people living there.”

But Mr Bourdillon defended the proposals, saying: “We have a protocol of what we accept, such as no violence or illegal activity or promotion of illegal activity.

“We are very aware that it’s surrounded by residential properties. We are not talking about late night music.

“All our events are fully staffed. We have never reported an incident to the police. I accept that people are concerned about this. We have been holding events for the last three years under temporary licences.

“The more people there are in Abney Park cemetery or events which are held, the more it will deter anti-social behaviour.”

People can submit views by August 1 in writing to or The Licensing Service, Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, London, E8 1DY.