DULWICH SOCIETY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - 27 April 2015

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS for 2014


CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
Scheme of Management:
The Society monitors the Estate’s implementation of the Scheme of Management through the ‘Advisory Group’, which met three times during the year. We continue to press the Estate to be more pro-active and take enforcement action over unapproved changes to licensed schemes when under construction, and/or non-compliant works such as full width hard standings in front gardens.

Council consultation:
Southwark Council has recently consulted on a series of cycling led initiatives which will have a major impact on Dulwich. Opinion is divided and there are advocates both for and against the proposals. There is general agreement, however, that the Council’s consultation procedures have not been as wide and transparent as they should have been. The Society tries to make sure that as many residents as possible know about them and are able to comment.

Burbage Road:
The central pedestrian refuge at the Village end of Burbage Road was finally re-installed in the Autumn.

Flood alleviation works:
Funded by the Environment Agency, Southwark Council has almost completed the flood alleviation schemes in Dulwich Park, Belair Park and the Southwark Community Trust Sports Ground.

Replacement for the stolen Barbara Hepworth in Dulwich Park:
The winner of the competition for the replacement for the stolen statue in Dulwich Park was Conrad Shawcross and the installation of his new work(s) will take place shortly – the official opening will be Saturday 18 April.

Dulwich Community Hospital site:
Progress on the redevelopment of the Dulwich Community Hospital site on East Dulwich Grove remains painfully slow. It has now been confirmed that the Southwark CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) will be building a health facility on a part of it but the future of the reminder of this large site is unclear although. A report at the last Dulwich Community Council (DCC) meeting indicated that the Education Funding Agency was in discussion over purchasing it for a new secondary school but there has been no further information. Haberdashers Aske and the Charter School have both put in bids to the Department for Education to run the new school if it goes ahead.

Dulwich Hamlet Football Club:
Discussions over the future of the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club remain ongoing. There have been several public exhibitions of the developer owner’s schemes to build flats on the existing ground and move the stadium onto the adjacent Green Dale. This is Metropolitan Open Land and the Society’s view is that it should not be built on.

Dulwich Estate development projects:
Crown and Greyhound: Work on turning the pub into a hotel is well underway.

Old Dairy site, West Dulwich: The Lambeth CCG and the Dulwich Estate have come to an agreement over the provision of a GP surgery in the new development in West Dulwich. Work is expected to start on site at the end of this year.

S G Smith, Dulwich Village: The Dulwich Estate and S G Smith have submitted their planning application for a residential development the garage sit in Gilkes Crescent. We await the outcome.

The Half Moon:  The pub has still not reopened. The Estate has taken back the lease and is still reviewing development options for the upper floors – housing, hotel or ancillary pub use.

The Grove Tavern: This pub at the junction of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane remains closed. The Estate has confirmed that architects have been appointed to work up a mixed use residential/retail scheme on the site.

St Faiths Vicarage: The house remains boarded up but the Estate and the Church authorities have now come to an agreement over the development. Three houses will be built on the site, one of which will be used as The St Faiths Vicarage.
 
Herne Hill Velodrome:
Design work on the proposed new pavilion is proceeding and negotiations between the Velodrome Trust and the Dulwich Estate are taking place.  Finances are still being fine-tuned and details of the lease to be granted by the Dulwich Estate have yet to be finalised. 

Cleaner Greener Safer Programme:
The Society put in bids at the end of 2014 for Cleaner Greener Safer funding (CGS) and won projects for the following:

  • New notice boards outside St Barnabas Church Hall - £800
  • Replace the grass on two of the grass areas in front of the Burial ground and try an experiment with ivy on one of the areas under the trees where grass will not grow - £4,850
  • New bench in Half Moon Lane at the request of Abbeyfield Society - £1,500
  • Additional replacement restrictor post in Hunts Slip Road - £1,900
  • Funding to convert the redundant public toilets behind the Dulwich Library into a police support post - £30,000
  • New drop kerbs in College and Village Wards - £15,000

The outstanding item from the 2013 grant programme was the new pedestrian crossing on Gallery Road opposite the entrance to Lovers Walk – this will be installed this summer when the schools are on holiday.

Dulwich College Science Building:
The first phase of the new building on College Road is due for completion at the end of March and will be in use in the Summer term.

Crystal Palace redevelopment:
The Society continues to monitor the potential Chinese led Crystal Palace redevelopment. The exclusivity period has now run out and Bromley Council has confirmed that they are no longer talking to Messrs ZhongRong, the developer. It is not currently clear what happens now.

Draft proposals to carry out further refurbishment work to the National Sports Centre and demolish the athletics track and replace it by a free school were consulted on at the end of the year. Understandably there have been a large number of objections, both from athletes and local residents.

Journal:
The Society’s Journal, with its improved colour format, continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership. Thanks to Brian Green, the editor, for his outstanding work.

Executive Committee:
Patrick Spencer, the secretary, and Jill Manuel, chair of the trees subcommittee, are both standing down. I would like to thank both of them for their many years of service.

I also take this opportunity to thank all the members of our Executive Committee and the Chairs, and members, of our sub- committees for the time they dedicate to the Society and its activities - continuing to do their best to maintain Dulwich’s unique ambience.  I include the members who deliver the Journal around Dulwich and welcome the new volunteer deliverers and co-ordinators who have joined us over the last year.

Ian McInnes, Chairman

 
HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT
The Executive Committee met 6 times during the year and was able to use Rosebery Lodge after 1 June when we took possession of the property.  The building is to be known as The Dulwich Society Heritage Centre.   U3A are regularly using the meeting rooms, and we hope that other local amenity groups will also use this facility.  A coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Nurses at the Lodge raised £275.  We have mounted a selection of photographs of the old farms in the area with information of their location and history. The Dulwich Village post cart is now secured in the porch.

Jeremy Prescott joined the Committee as Chairman of the Garden sub-committee following John Ward’s retirement from the office after so many successful years for which the Society is very grateful.

Towards the end of the year we began having the public benches donated by the Society renovated and this will continue through the Spring.

Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary


MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT
Membership remains at 1100 households. Just over 10% live outside Dulwich and our membership for Dulwich represents approximately 20% of all households. Whilst it would be good if we could represent a larger proportion of Dulwich households any membership drive does not seem to result in large numbers of new members. Any suggestions or help to increase membership would be appreciated.

For the financial year 2013-2014 we claimed £2247.62 from HMRC for gift aid.

The eNewsletter is now sent to just over a third of our members who have given us their e mail addresses. It is sent out on a monthly basis and provides a useful mechanism to keep members up to date on important issues affecting Dulwich (such as planning or transport proposals from Southwark) but also lets people know about events and activities in the area which cannot be included in the quarterly journal. Members can request to be added to the circulation by emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Diana McInnes, Membership Secretary

REPORT FROM THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP
Dulwich Estate Applications:
The Planning and Architecture Group continues to make monthly visits to the Scheme of Management office at the Old Grammar School on the corner of Burbage Road. The Group exercises the Dulwich Society’s right, as the principal local amenity group, to comment on licence applications made to the Dulwich Estate’s Scheme of Management. This year 201 licence applications were commented on, up from 175 in 2013. As in the previous year, loft conversions with rear dormers and garden buildings remain popular applications. Almost no solar panel applications were received this year.

Southwark Planning Applications:
Restoration of boundary wall St Peter’s/Deeper Life Bible Church:  Although planning permissions for this work and the provision of car and cycle parking, a new pedestrian footpath, permeable paving and landscaping in front of St Peter’s Church Hall are now in place, the works have not commenced. The Dulwich Society has been advised that the restoration of, and alterations, to the stonework will start later in the year. The work on the decorative railings will need to be subject to a separate contract of work.

Streatham and Marlborough Cricket Club on Dulwich Common: The planning application to demolish the existing dilapidated cricket pavilion and build a new one was granted in February 2014. It should improve facilities at the club and allow them to expanding their activities.

Judith Kerr Primary School: There were two development consultations during the year with respect to the proposed three phases of development. Permanent permitted development rights (PPDR) were granted in June 2014 for a state funded primary school (use class D1) for up to 350 pupils. It remains unclear whether the Dulwich Estate still intends to redevelop the adjacent site.

Southwark Community Sports Trust Sports Ground, Turney Road: The planning application for a single storey timber clad building on Metropolitan Open Land ( MOL ) for use as a children’s day nursery and for evening sports teaching facilities was approved despite substantial local objections. The facility is now open.

Camber Lawn Tennis Club on Dulwich Common: The replacement clubhouse due to fire is expected to be installed early in 2015.

David Lloyd Roberts, Chair

REPORT FROM THE TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT GROUP
Sub-committee:
The Committee meets approximately quarterly, with considerable activity between meetings.  We have been pleased to welcome three new members during the year.

Railway Services:
Disabled access to stations: We continue to pursue a long running campaign for better access for disabled people, the elderly and parents with pushchairs at both North Dulwich and West Dulwich. Improving access at North Dulwich Station by installing lifts is very difficult and would be very expensive and reluctantly we have decided that it is not possible at the present time.

The Department for Transport liaises with Network Rail, TfL, local authorities and disability groups, and then uses percentage figures for the incidence of disability and passenger statistics to prioritise work on local stations.  Unfortunately, West Dulwich Station has not scored highly enough to attract funding so far, but we are seeking to obtain funds for a feasibility study to investigate a relatively low cost solution to build ramps to both platforms at West Dulwich Station.

Thameslink timetable: We have written to Thameslink expressing our concern that their timetable consultation document does not mention the current services that link Sydenham Hill and West Dulwich stations directly with Loughborough Junction, Elephant and Castle, Blackfriars , City Thameslink, Farringdon, St Pancras and beyond. 

We have also asked Thameslink for more trains in the evening from London Bridge to Victoria and pointed out that the loss of a regular connection from North Dulwich to East Croydon is keenly felt, especially as this route allows easy access to Gatwick Airport.

Herne Hill Railway Bridge: Remedial work on the railway bridge by Herne Hill station was postponed at the last minute by Transport for London and the work will probably be carried out in the summer of 2017.

Herne Hill Station: Funds have now been allocated by Network Rail for the station to be refurbished.

East Dulwich Grove/Townley Road/Green Dale Junction Consultation Plan:
Southwark Council’s proposal to ban a right hand turn from Townley Road into East Dulwich Grove met with strong opposition from local residents and it has been withdrawn.

The Council has now prepared further proposals, for presentation at a Q & A session on 27 February with officers in attendance with displays, maps, consultation response forms etc.  The officers’ role is to explain the latest proposals, answer questions on any aspects, and take feedback.  Final details are to be presented to the DCC meeting on 17 March.

Proposed Southwark Cycling Strategy, including Spine Route for Cyclists travelling north/south through the Borough of Southwark, including Quietways:
Whilst we supported the strategy objectives, major concerns were felt about both the exact route and implementation details, and Southwark Council’s Cycling Strategy Group was informed that the scheme should be subjected to much more intensive consultation on the basis of detailed proposals.

Car Parking in Dulwich Roads:
The Council has consulted on the introduction of one hour controlled parking outside the main shopping parade in Dulwich Village. This is part of a borough wide policy. 
The difficulties caused by non-resident parking in local roads will be discussed further at the Community Council meeting on 17 March 2015.

Fatal Collision at the junction of the South Circular and Gallery Road:
An inquest into the death of a cyclist who was crushed to death by a lorry in September 2013 was held in February.  The coroner concluded the death was accidental and said there were no recommendations he could make on safety improvements that would have prevented the collision.

Dulwich Common/Thurlow Park Road junction with Gallery Road:
Anti-skid surfacing has been applied to the road at this junction and this appears to have reduced the number of car accidents. The Society has suggested minor changes to TfL which will make this junction even safer and improve traffic flow. We have also asked TfL to consider improving safety and traffic flow at the junction of College Road and the South Circular by altering the timing of the lights on the pedestrian crossing on the South Circular.

Safe Routes to School:
Southwark Council has agreed to fund the Bike-it-Plus officer for a second year.
A final draft of the Safe Route to School map is now ready and should be available this year for distribution to local schools and new parents.

Extension of the Bakerloo Line:
Camberwell is one of the two favoured destinations for this extension; the Old Kent Road is the other route. The Society supported the bid for Camberwell but Southwark Council supported both stations.

Paxton Green Gyratory:
Work on this roundabout is now complete.

Alastair Hanton, Chair

REPORT FROM THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
Following the installation in 2013 of twelve plaques commemorating civilian casualties in the area during World War II, Southwark agreed to fund a leaflet giving their locations and brief details of the incidents. A large number of copies have been distributed through Dulwich Library and the café in Dulwich Park, although the take-up by local primary schools has been disappointing. Several relatives of those who died have expressed their appreciation of the plaques.

The commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War last year meant that the subject featured strongly in the Group’s activities. The Society worked with the Herne Hill Society in the preparation of an online interactive map which is accessible via our website. It includes WW1 war memorials, the location of bombing raids etc.

A number of memorial plaques found in a prison workshop in Northampton, were identified as commemorating members of the former Congregational Church in Barry Road who died in the conflict. They have now been erected in the entrance hall of the old building.

Articles in the Society’s Journal have covered Dulwich in World War I, the “Homes fit for Heroes” Sunray Estate and Bombs over Dulwich among other local history topics. Photographs with information on the history of local farms have been put up in Rosebery Lodge, and the Post Office cart that had been in storage has been placed securely in the porch.

The opening of the Burial Ground on one day during the Dulwich Festival was well attended and it is proposed to open it again this year. Two local history walks during the Festival and a joint event with the Wildlife Group in September were also very successful.

Bernard Nurse, Chair

REPORT FROM THE GARDEN GROUP
Jeremy Prescott took over the chair of the sub-committee last year on John Ward’s retirement after over 20 years dedicated service.  Ann Rutherford is now editor of the very successful annual booklet ‘Dulwich Gardens open for Charity’ and over 5000 copies were printed and distributed last year.  1100 went to Society members, 700 to the Honor Oak Society, and the balance to garden centres etc. The net cost to the Society, after taking advertising income into account was around £500.

Valerie Muir gave the annual lecture on organic gardening at the Belair Recreation Centre on 24 April while the annual coach tour went to Wisley on 24 June.

Several new members joined the sub-committee. Sylvia Daniel remains as Secretary, with Ina Pulleine in charge of visits.

Jeremy Prescott, Chair


REPORT FROM THE TREES SUB- COMMITTEE

The committee met four times during the year. We miss the presence of Stella Benwell, since her death at the beginning of the year, and the sub-committee chair paid a tribute to her as part of her funeral service. We were also saddened by the death of David Nicholson Lord. He and Stella worked together in the creation of the Village Copse amongst many other things.

Four further tree profiles were written for the Journal identifying an Acer Grisium (near the bridge in Dulwich Park), a Cabbage Palm, (cordyline australiensis), oaks in variety, and hollies, the latter displayed with a handsome festive photo.

The flood alleviation work in both Dulwich and Belair Parks has caused inevitable disruption, but it now appears that the four trees chosen and planted by Stella in the latter, have been saved. They include an Indian Rain Tree, a Catalpa, and Cork Oak, and all are growing to quite a size.

The committee decided not to continue working with the Dulwich Festival next year and to concentrate on a more specialized season of walks from Rosebery Lodge throughout the year. It chose Kew Botanical Gardens for the Autumn outing, and had an excellent specialist small group guide. The lure of free transport for the journey was however not enough to encourage a good turnout. It was agreed that to be popular, a coach trip, even if more costly, is preferred.

The tree maps are not selling particularly well currently – partly because of the free copy given to every member of the Society in recognition of the 50th anniversary celebration. There is a small stock of maps that have not been folded, and so are suitable for display if required.

There continues to be a loss of important trees. This is frequently because of claimed damage to nearby buildings. Despite tree preservation orders (TPOs)   and the involvement of the Council and the Dulwich Estate, insurance claims seem to be the deciding factor. Even where a root trench has been used, the affected trees still seem to be suffering. The loss of several old oaks in one of the sports grounds bordering the South Circular marks a real loss of habitat.

Jill Manuel, Chair

REPORT FROM THE WILDLIFE SUB COMMITTEE
We have three important local Green Spaces which are all sites “of interest for nature conservation”, although not technically categorized as such.  All three of them have been dramatically affected by works of one kind or another.  Two of these precious areas are the much-loved local parks, Dulwich and Belair, where major flood alleviation works have been taking place.  The third is the SCST sports ground off Turney Road, also the location of flood alleviation works. This large area of Metropolitan Open Land is particularly noted for its iconic mature field boundary trees.

The group has been monitoring all the things that have been happening upon our green spaces – both visible and below ground or water level. We have been taking expert advice on how we can restore the ecological value of these areas, going beyond the merely cosmetic patch and tidy-up. We want to hear from you if you are concerned about specific green areas which need to be restored or maintained in a special way. 

We have also liaised closely with other local groups, such as the Dulwich Park Friends and the London Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Belair Park, as well as Southwark Council who are currently keen on Green initiatives.

The bird population seems to be very healthy in our area – but its profile is changing and we need to keep tabs on how and why some species are declining, or moving geographically, while others are coming in.  We heartily recommend all the nature study walks and talks being run on site throughout the area by the London Wildlife Trust. These cover every aspect of our local flora and fauna throughout the year, from birds and butterflies, bats, beetles, trees, fungi and flowers – suitable for all ages, but bring stout shoes and, ideally, a set of binoculars.   Members of our group are actively involved in these events.

If you would like to join our Dulwich Society wildlife group, or simply have a particular interest in the natural world which you would like to explore, please get in touch with us.

Angela Wilkes, Chair.

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