The following is the text of a letter received from the Chair of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust:
Today we are launching two competitions. One to find the best practitioners in landscape design to develop a landscape masterplan for the Cemetery. The second to find an architect-led design team to investigate projects to preserve and enhance our historic structures and improve facilities for grave owners, volunteers, visitors and staff. A comprehensive Conservation Plan, published in 2019, forms the bedrock of these competitions.
Highgate Cemetery is world renowned for its atmospheric and enchanting site and is the resting place of many well-known people. It is still a working cemetery and normally welcomes over 100,000 visitors a year from all over the world, contributing to the local economy, and providing an important ‘green lung’ for London. Our plans will address a number of challenges which are currently undermining the historic landscape and its biodiversity, while respecting and enhancing its special character and taking account of its many statutory protections, including listing and conservation area status. This will not be a sudden transformation but a long-term project for managing the Cemetery over the next twenty-five years. As a result, trees, paths, monuments and buildings will be better looked after and visiting will be easier, and more rewarding.
As the plans develop, we look forward to working with partners and the local community and will keep you up to date with progress. As well as undertaking any public consultation that may be needed through the planning process, we also plan to exhibit shortlisted landscape masterplan designs in Spring 2021, providing an opportunity for comment.
You can find out more about the competitions on our website where there is also a short film illustrating the opportunities and challenges:highgatecemetery.org/competitions.