Instead of moving house, Dulwich residents are increasingly altering, and often enlarging their existing houses. With the VAT liability removed from new-build houses, there is also an advantage to be gained from demolishing an existing property and rebuilding on the footprint of the old. However, there are consents to be obtained before work can commence. Because of the existence of Dulwich Scheme of Management, applications to alter properties on the Dulwich Estate must, in the first instance, be considered by the managers of the Scheme. Through its status as the local amenity society representing 1100 member households, the Dulwich Society is a consultative member of the Scheme.
The Dulwich Society, through its Planning and Architecture Group appraises these applications. Like other Dulwich Society sub-committees, the group is made up of experts in the subject as well as interested laymen. Time is given up on a considerable scale by these members and in the past twelve months 200 separate licence applications have been examined and commented upon. Usually the group sends a team of up to four members to the Dulwich Estate Office each month to examine the applications. The guidelines for external alterations are on the Estate’s website and the consultant architect can be contacted for advice.
In the past year, twenty-nine applications were the subject of objections by The Dulwich Society. Sometimes the objections were accompanied by a suggestion as to what alteration or addition would be better received. Applications are then referred back to the applicant and may result in a modification, consultation with the Dulwich Estate’s consultant architect and/or referral to the Manager’s committee of the Scheme of Management for a decision.
Some applications, such as new builds, are welcomed by the group. Some are not. A contentious application for a house in Frank Dixon Way which involved considerable excavation for basement rooms was objected to by the group, neighbours and the planning department at Southwark Council. A more eco-friendly design for a new house in the same road has been better received all round; from the neighbours’ point of view, no doubt because the construction time for the brick-slip and timber clad house’s basic structure is estimated to take only 3-4 weeks!
In the autumn, the Dulwich Society’s Planning and Architecture Group stepped out of its comfort zone of the Dulwich Estate to intervene in East Dulwich’s Hindman’s Road where an application for a backland development was particularly contentious.
The Dulwich Society’s Trees Group is also consulted through the Scheme of Management on the issue of tree disputes; in cases where a tree might be removed at the request of the householder, or the householder’s insurers. The Scheme is receiving an increasing number of applications for tree work (all freeholders on the Dulwich Estate are required to obtain a licence before carrying out tree work), with 283 applications three years ago, rising to 320 in 2013. The Dulwich Society’s Trees Group has carried out four site visits this year.
In the last issue of the Journal, the Traffic & Transport Group asked members for their views on Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ’s) in Dulwich. Surprisingly, this resulted in only 50 responses, less than 5% of the membership. In most members’ minds this subject is clearly not a priority. However, elsewhere, evidence shows that when the moment is reached when decisions on the matter are imminent the issue can become highly emotive. Elsewhere in this copy of the Journal members are again invited to respond over the matter.
If you, as a member feel that you might be willing to participate further in the work of the Society then the chairmen of the various sub-committees should be approached or the chairman of the Dulwich Society, Ian McInnes.
Most residents will know that the East Dulwich Police Station has closed and that the site has been sold to the Education Funding Authority to become the new Harris Primary Academy East Dulwich. The consequence is that all three local Safer Neighborhood teams, East Dulwich, Village and College are now based in Camberwell - though there are nominal ‘contact points’ both at the East Dulwich Library and on the Kingswood Estate. But they are manned for a very limited time during the week and offer no privacy for reporting incidents.
Despite the strenuous efforts of the Village Ward Safer Neighbourhood Panel and Village Ward councillors to persuade the police to have a touchdown base in either East Dulwich or Village (to avoid the long travel times from Camberwell), there has been little progress. The Dulwich Hospital Gatehouse was identified as a viable location, and there were council funds available to convert it, but the Met were adamant that the new local policing model, introduced in June 2013, would easily be able to cope with crime in Dulwich without a local presence.
A year later not all local residents are convinced. Many consider that there is now a "black hole" in police provision. The police report that crime is reducing but there is a feeling that less crime is being reported because the police are no longer so visible on the ground - low visibility being perhaps the most common complaint.
Whatever the truth however, it must be a good idea to have local police based in or near the area they serve, and there is now an alternative location on the table - the former public toilets at the side of the Dulwich Library facing Eynella Road. The building is currently used for overflow storage for the library but is in relatively good condition and is the right size to provide two rooms (including a private meeting/reporting area) and toilet and kitchen facilities. It would be possible to put it in good order relatively cheaply perhaps using Council CGS funding.
This provision would not only serve to make police more visible by allowing officers to remain in Dulwich all day, but it would also make them more available and accessible - one of the main advantages of the Safer Neighbourhood Team concept, and the beat officers before that.
It would be really good if the Met could be a bit more flexible and take up the offer.
Bartley’s Florists, Dulwich Village
The proprietors of Bartley’s Florists and The Dulwich Estate have issued a joint statement stating that an agreement has been reached between them whereby the shop area will be enlarged by opening up that part of the interior of the premises and that the flat above will be made self-contained. The work is expected to be done between July-September 2015, during which the shop will close. The Estate is hoping to offer Bartley’s alternative accommodation for the sale of flowers during this closure.
Croquet enjoys revival
The popularity of croquet is increasing and the Dulwich Croquet Club which has two greens at its ground in Burbage Road reports that its membership has grown to over 70 members. It has retained its title as national club champions. New members are invited and social croquet sessions are held during the winter on Thursday mornings (10.30am) and Sunday mornings (10am).
Croquet is enjoying a new lease of life at Dulwich College and sixth formers have the privilege of playing on the lawn in front of the north block.
What’s in a Name?
Is it a requirement that to work for the London Wildlife Trust you require an appropriate name? It must be; the warden of LWT’s managed Sydenham Hill Wood is named Daniel Greenwood, the manager of LWT’s Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Marsden Road, East Dulwich is named Lorna Fox and the LWT’s officer for the River Effra Project is named Helen Spring.
Early start at Dulwich College
Anticipation of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift by the Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn in 1619, has got off to an early start at Dulwich College. A lecture programme covering the next four years has been put in place and opened last month. The series, named the G E Moore Lectures, after the Old Alleynian philosopher, will reflect aspects of the College’s life and history.
Those Dulwich residents who live in Southwark are very lucky that the Council is still supportive of local libraries. The Dulwich Library has been recently refurbished, the library at Kingswood House remains open, and there will be a new facility in Grove Vale in the development under construction next to East Dulwich station.
Spare a thought then for residents in Croydon and Lambeth. The Carnegie Library in Herne Hill is in the process of becoming a ‘community hub’ facility to be run by a ‘Friends’ group - not a problem in itself if sufficient local residents are prepared to participate, but it is a large building and there is no guarantee that initial Council funding will be maintained - and can the Friends raise sufficient additional funds from leasing floor space or running a café to make up the shortfall?
Many Society members also use the library in Crystal Palace (historically run as a combined library by both boroughs), which the former administration in Croydon tried to close down despite objections from the local community. Luckily Lambeth remained in support and the Upper Norwood Library Trust has been set up to run the library in the future. Both Lambeth and Croydon (now with a Labour administration) have now agreed to provide some funding but, like the Carnegie Library, the trust will have to look for innovative ways of raising additional income. A well-attended public meeting on 13 October showed the level of local support for the trust and councillors from both Lambeth and Croydon confirmed their support - but pointed out that further cut backs in local authority funding were going to occur and there could be no certainty about future funding levels.
New Honour for Gillian
Gillian Wolfe CBE, Director of Learning and Public Affairs at Dulwich Picture Gallery, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Canterbury Christ Church University in recognition of her outstanding achievements in arts education.
Gillian has been at Dulwich Picture Gallery since 1984 where she set-up the education programme that has become a national model of excellence with in-house and community programmes reaching out to diverse social and ethnic communities across London.
Professor Paul Camic, Research Director for the University’s Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, introduced Gillian to the congregation in Canterbury Cathedral. He said: “Today I am honoured to be introducing a prize fighter for the arts. She has shown the importance of what arts can bring to people from different social backgrounds, ethnic groups, educational levels, ages and with different mental and physical capacities.
“Gillian has led the life of someone who believes the potential of the arts to impact positively on people’s lives. For over 30 years she has been relentless in her efforts to make the arts available to the widest cross section of society and has developed many nationally recognised radical programmes. We are delighted to award her today with an Honorary Doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University.”
Dulwich Village Post Cart
The restored Dulwich Vilage post cart has been placed at Rosebery Lodge where it can be easily viewed and secured in a covered space. Rosebery Lodge, which is now leased by The Dulwich Society has a photographic display showing the history of a number of local farms which existed into the 20th century and which in time become playing fields as demand for milk and the grazing of horses changed.
Rosebery Lodge Administrator:
One Fountain Drive
This house is one of the few original houses on College Road - dating from the 1860s it is in poor condition and has been squatted for some time. Over the last 20 years various purchasers have come up with redevelopment schemes in the grounds but all have failed because of the unacceptable impact on the trees and wildlife in the garden.
Recently a new purchaser proposed a different scenario - that is to demolish the old house and build a row of three storey town houses on the footprint by the road - thus reducing the need to build in the garden. With active support from neighbours and a request to call in the application by local councillors one would have thought it would have been a dead cert for approval but not so apparently. Planning officers turned it down under delegated powers and it now appears that they have their own ideas for the site -to build a block of tall flats. Quite where this has come from we don’t know, they don’t own the site, and a tall building does not seem particularly appropriate given all the adjoining properties are two to three stories - or are they looking to increase the Council’s income through additional CIL payments (Community Infrastructure Levy) - a tax on new developments based on floor area.
It seems that while a large number of objections to a development mean that it goes to planning committee, a large number of letters in support has no such effect. The Society continues to campaign for planning decisions to be bought back to the local community and this case confirms that it needs to happen.
Car parking in Dulwich
The Society is grateful to those of its members who expressed views in response to the article in the last issue of the Journal.
We have had about 50 replies, and would like more. The number of responses and opinions clearly reflected the perceived needs in the different areas of Dulwich. Those most affected by the recent CPZs in Lambeth and North Dulwich, and by proximity to schools and rail stations, were the most positive of the benefits of controlled parking zones - they constituted just under two thirds of the total respondents.
David Nicholson-Lord (1947-2014)
David grew up in Denton, near Manchester and attended William Hume Grammar School. As a schoolboy he had already shown great interest in wildlife and was an enthusiastic bird watcher. After graduating from Christ’s College Cambridge in 1970, he embarked on a career in journalism which would span four decades. His first job as a reporter was at the Exeter Express and Echo. This led to his becoming deputy night news editor at The Times in less than nine years. As a mainstream news journalist, David covered many high profile cases, including the national steel strike of 1978, the Brixton riots of 1981, the trial of serial killer Denis Nilson and Thatcher’s controversial visit to Northern Ireland.
During the next decade with the Times, the environment and sustainability issues became his focus, passion and specialism at the paper. David took a short sabbatical to Wolfson College, Cambridge, where he was selected as the first press fellow. At the same time, he was the Director of ‘Think Green’ - the national campaign for livable towns and cities. It was during this time that David’s first major book, The Greening of the Cities (1987), was first published.
In 1990 David moved to the new Independent on Sunday as its environment editor. In 1995 he went freelance. This stage of his career saw him feature heavily in many broadcast newspapers, BBC Wildlife, Resurgence and the New Statesman, He also worked extensively for not for profit organisations and campaigns. In this capacity he held positions as the deputy chair for the New Economics Foundation, chair of the Urban Wildlife Network and policy director of Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust. By 2006, David was voted in the top ten most influential promoters of Urban Biodiversity and Human Nature, according to English Nature. He was also a course director and lecturer at City University, London, and taught journalism courses globally. His reputation as an author grew further after the publication of his book Planet Earth - The Making Of An Epic Series in 2006 for the BBC following the worldwide popularity of the programme. David’s last book, Downrising - The Coming Apocalypse, written over a period of seven years, was his first and only work of fiction.
From 1986-9 David was the editor of the Dulwich Society Newsletter, the forerunner to the current Journal. He introduced a new professionalism and featured items of general local interest as well as significant articles on our relationship with the environment. He continued, until his progressive illness precluded it, to be very active in the Dulwich Society, organising a debate about the problem of subsidence and getting insurance cover for buildings where trees featured near properties, as well as persuading those responsible for the running of parks and open spaces to be aware of the urgent need to maintain a balance with nature. He successfully campaigned for more trees to enhance air quality, to leave margins around sports fields unmown to encourage wildlife.
He had great influence on the final plan for the restoration of Dulwich Park after its grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in that he persuaded the designers to include a woodland perimeter walk (extensively used by dog-walkers!). When further funds became available from the demise of the Dulwich Village Preservation Society David planned the planting of the Village Copse. He was also successful in obtaining a grant under CGS funding to plant the now established wildlife hedge in Belair Park.