DULWICH SOCIETY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - 2011

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT - 2010

After persistent pressure from the Society, the Dulwich Estate has finally published the monthly schedule of planning applications to the Scheme of Management on their website and also, perhaps more importantly, the results of those applications.

The Society was very pleased to support the considerable local interest in the Herne Hill Velodrome and we agreed to give a grant of £5000 to assist in setting up the new charity - the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust.

The Society promoted six successful projects which secured Cleaner Greener Safer (CGS) funding from the Council. Five of these are complete including the replacement circular bench in the Village, alterations to the gate to Cox’s Walk to enable mothers with buggies to have easy access, a new bench outside Barclay’s Bank, the installation of the Red Post sign at the junction of Herne Hill and Red Post Hill, and the re-turfing of the grass areas between the St Barnabas Church Hall and the Crown and Greyhound in the Village. From last year we can also confirm the successful completion of the new fence to the Marlborough cricket Club, only the refurbishment of Rosebery Lodge is outstanding and initial work on preparing plans and specifications has started.

Amongst other successes, with which we have been involved indirectly, were the conversion of College Lodge in Dulwich Park into a communal facility, the completion of better parking and the new changing rooms for Belair Park, and the new pavements and kerbs in Gallery Road. We have also tried very hard to facilitate a successful conclusion to the Burbage Road roundabout saga – only time will tell whether the final agreed solution is the right one.

The Society has continued to monitor the situation regarding the Village Post Office and we understand that a new tenant has come forward and that he should be in place shortly. 

Following a constructive meeting with the new headmaster at Dulwich College, we have recently heard that new architects have been appointed to prepare a master plan for the school’s future development and look forward to seeing the results.

There was a huge demand for the second edition of the Society’s booklet on ‘Dulwich Gardens open for charity’. The third edition published in March (2011) has more pages and an increased print run.

Our work on the Zelkova tree at the Dulwich Common/College Road junction will be covered in other committee reports as will the successful retention of the large tulip tree outside the Picture Gallery.

With its wide range of articles on all aspects of local interest, the Journal continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership.

Once again I would like to take this opportunity to thank 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 would also include the members who deliver the newsletter around Dulwich and welcome the new volunteer deliverers and co-ordinators who have joined us over the last year. 

Last, but not lease, I want to record my thanks to His Honour Michael Rich QC who is standing down at the next AGM as the Society’s President. He has held this position for ten years and for many years before that was an active vice-president. His legal knowledge has been a great help to the Society as has his efficient chairmanship of the Society’s AGM.

Ian McInnes, Chairman

HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT - 2010

The Executive Committee met 9 times during the year.

The Society lost a good friend when Ken Jeffries died on 6th January; he was a link with the birth of the Society, and had been our Honorary Auditor from 1964 to 2006 – 42 years!

For a considerable time we had pressed for the re-erection of the War Memorial at Dulwich Hospital and this resulted in its restoration and re-dedicated on 19th March, and adjacent to it we have had a bench installed.

At the AGM we bid farewell to one of our Vice-Presidents, Dr.Colin Diggory who was retiring from the headship of Alleyn’s School at the end of the summer term.

A major topic during the year was the fate of the Zelkova tree; at the last moment, for better or worse, it was partially saved and on 21st August lopped from some 100 feet to 20 feet in height; we now await to see whether it will re-generate.

Another important event was the ‘unveiling’ on 2nd October of the red painted fingerpost at the head of Red Post Hill which we had initiated, followed by a small celebration in the adjacent church hall.

On Remembrance Sunday the bench at the corner of Dulwich Village and Calton Avenue was dedicated to the memory of Lt. Mark Evison, a local resident, who was killed whilst serving in Afghanistan.

Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary

MEMBERSHIP REPORT - 2010

Membership: 2010 was a good year for membership, with 58 new members joining (including 10 recruited as the result of a localised membership drive).  This enabled us to maintain the total number of members at just below 1100 throughout the year.  We will consider another membership drive in the less well-represented areas in Dulwich during 2011. I would like to encourage our members to introduce the idea of membership to friends, neighbours and, in particular, newly-arrived residents. The more members we have the greater the clout the Society has as the only amenity society in the local area.

Charity Gift Aid: We claimed and received £2590.83 in Charity Gift Aid in 2010.  This is a valuable addition to our funds each year and we are grateful to the 84% of our members who signed Gift Aid declarations.

Journal Distribution: We have recently re-organised some of the 'zones' for distribution of the quarterly Journal.  We are grateful to those members who did in the past or who do now help to deliver Journals. I know from messages I receive how much it is appreciated.  New volunteers are always welcome.

Wilfrid Taylor, Membership Secretary

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP - 2010

Dulwich Estate licence applications: The Planning and Architecture Group continues to make monthly visits to the Scheme of Management office to comment on licence applications. This year has seen a gradual increase in the number of applications reviewed.

Planning Applications:
39 Alleyn Road: An appeal against Southwark’s refusal to allow demolition of the existing house and construction of a much larger new one was upheld by the Planning Inspector. However, the licence application to the Dulwich Estate was turned down until the design had been amended to comply with Estate guidelines. In this instance the objections we raised during the consultation process were addressed by the ‘safety net’ of the Guidelines and the actions of the trustees of the Scheme of Management to enforce them.

11A Fountain Drive: The appeal against Southwark’s planning refusal was also allowed by a Planning Inspector.

8 Frank Dixon Way: The appeal against Southwark’s planning refusal was also for extensive demolition and large extension with a huge basement was allowed by a Planning Inspector.

60 Dulwich Village: A planning application for part demolition and a large side extension to this listed house was withdrawn after considerable local opposition. A reduced scheme submitted in December to which the Society has also objected.

James Allen’s Girls School (JAGS): A planning application for a Community Music Centre was submitted to Southwark and the Society wrote in support.
Concern about parking, particularly during evening events, was an issue but a draft planning permission has been agreed subject to a series of conditions which would satisfy local residents.

Listed wall on Red Post Hill: This has now been rebuilt. New concrete foundations and concealed concrete piers have been included to provide stability to the re-instated brickwork and the leaning section of the old wall. The original bricks, or bricks of a similar age, have been used as has the correct lime mortar.

The Society acknowledges Southwark Council’s planning enforcement officer’s efforts in taking out legal proceedings against the site owners, Hausman Hughes Ltd. The successful conclusion to this five year project also involved local residents Peter Flaherty at Lyndenhurst, Simon Pimblett at 9 Red Post Hill, the Council’s Conservation officers, and Village Ward Councillors.

Belair Changing Rooms: The new changing rooms and community meeting room have now been completed and were officially opened earlier last year by Southwark Councillors.

Gallery Road: The heritage additions to the new lamp posts have been completed. Meetings were arranged by Southwark’s Public Realm Officer, John Howe, with all interested parties in the road to finalise a scheme for installing granite kerbs, re-surfacing the footpaths, creating indented parking and a section of combined pedestrian and cycle footpath. Work was in progress towards the end of last year until halted by the early snow. The road will be resurfaced shortly.

Edward Alleyn Statue: Signs warning that the statues are now under 24hr video surveillance has been installed. Discreet signs in the surrounding gravel also note that the statues have been sprayed with forensic ‘smart water’.
Dulwich Mill Pond: The Dulwich Estate has experienced slow progress in receiving the detailed scheme for cleaning and managing the pond. The works are now expected to take place in 2012.

Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club: The new oak paling fencing to replace the unsightly wire mesh fencing was completed last February by Chestnut Products Ltd using sustainably managed oak from the Hever Castle Estate. The Dulwich Estate kindly provided all tender documentation and obtained the prices. The cost of the work was paid for by a combination of a CGS grant from Southwark Council, and contributions from the Society and the club. The unsightly graffiti-covered container in the car park has been moved sideways
in line with the tree screen, and painted dark green. A combined effort by all the parties has achieved a substantial improvement to the visual amenity of this section of Dulwich Common.

Cox’s Walk: A Cleaner Greener Safer grant was obtained to adapt the railings and gate at the bottom end of Cox’s walk to allow easier access for push chairs. The adaptation work and repainting was completed within a day by local metalwork fabricators, E Smith Metal Fabrication Ltd.

St Peter’s Church Lordship Lane – The Deeper Life Bible Church: The Society, assisted by Michelle Pearce, has been in discussion with Pastor Sunday Okenwa regarding our desire to see the boundary wall and railings reinstated along Lordship Lane. We are also concerned over the derelict church hall.

We have made a successful application to the Heritage of London Trust for a contribution to the works but further money needs to be raised. The church and hall are on the English heritage ‘Buildings at risk’ register.

Architectural Poster/Map: Local artist mark Ashmead has provided a series of excellent watercolours of selected houses to illustrate the poster. Vic lee has been commissioned to prepare the actual map

David Lloyd Roberts, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT COMMITTEE - 2010

Much has been achieved in the year to improve the quality of the environment in and around Dulwich. Road safety, a reduction of traffic congestion, improvement of facilities for walking and cycling, and better public transport have been under constant consideration during the twelve month period.

Herne Hill Junction: The £2 million regeneration scheme has proved to be most successful and the official inauguration ceremony took place on 4 December.

Herne Hill Retail Improvement Project: Whilst the work on Norwood Road is substantially complete, the Society, along with the Herne Hill Society, is pressing for the speedy implementation of the work which remains to be done on Half Moon Lane.

Traffic calming in Dulwich Village: The work on the footways of Gallery Road is in progress and will be followed by the resurfacing of the carriageway.  Some alterations to the gyratory at the end of Burbage Road have been approved and work has started on modifications to the junction of Calton Avenue, Court Lane and Dulwich Village.

Changes at the junction of Village Way and Red Post Hill, initially recommended by the late David Hollis, a former member of the Society’s Traffic and Transport Committee, have now been implemented and have proved very satisfactory.

Herne Hill Velodrome: The company to eventually take responsibility for the Velodrome, the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, has been incorporated and been registered by the Charity Commission. The Velodrome Committee is deeply grateful for the Society’s financial support, which is vital to enable preliminary professional work to be undertaken on the lease and the governance structure.

Agreement has been reached between the Dulwich Estate and British Cycling, enabling the latter to resurface the track.

Plans for the possible replacement of the buildings by the architects for the Stratford Olympic Velodrome, have been shown to representatives of local interests and to the volunteers who have kept the Velodrome operating for the past few years.

A reception for fund raisers and others who may have influence in moving the project forward has taken place, as has a further public meeting which was held at Dulwich College in March.

Walking & cycling network: Elements of our walking and cycling network involve the both the Velodrome Project and the work on Gallery Road, and we are delighted with progress so far.

Road danger reduction: We have worked with Ward Councillors to press Transport for London for measures to prevent the frequent over-running onto the footway by westbound vehicles going too fast at the junction of Alleyn Park and the South Circular.   We are also in discussion with the Police about their use of the hand-held speed surveillance devices provided for them through the Dulwich Community Council, especially on Half Moon Lane, East Dulwich Road and Gallery Road.

Jags Community Music Centre: The Council has now granted planning consent, subject to conditions, which have been published in draft.  We will discuss with the school and Council officers the conditions related to traffic.

Trains: Recently a substantial improvement has been made to the frequency and duration of evening services between North Dulwich and London Bridge stations, and frequency of services to Crystal Palace on Sundays.  Surprisingly, the train operator Southern has not publicised this welcome change.

There is a long-standing issue still to be resolved with Network Rail and South Eastern Trains over disabled access to the platforms at West Dulwich Station.

Car club: The Traffic and Transport Committee is keen to support an event proposed by Dulwich Going Greener, to promote the new Car Club.  This is under discussion with Southwark Council and the operator Streetcar.

Dulwich Festival 2011: The Festival Committee is keen to extend the Festival from the park into Dulwich Village by excluding vehicles from the Village for part of one of the two Sundays of the Festival.  Support for this idea was expressed by Councillors at a Dulwich Community Council meeting and by an extensive consultation with local residents and businesses. The proposal is being pursued.

Alastair Hanton, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP – 2010
 
The main event of the year was the unveiling of the red signpost at the top of Red Post Hill. This marks the former signpost which gave the road its name and was an unusual feature in London. Financial support from Southwark Council and the Herne Hill Society is gratefully acknowledged. About 70 people attended the ceremony, including the Deputy Mayor.

The annual summer walk took place in May during the Dulwich Festival and was led by Brian Green along the ridge of Sydenham Hill. A second walk in October led by Brian Green and Stephen Humphrey along Bankside featured places associated with Edward Alleyn, the founder of Dulwich College. Harvey Sheldon showed the group the excavated remains of the Rose Theatre where Alleyn had performed. Both walks were well supported.

One of the committee’s longest serving members, Mary Boast, died in June. She had been the Local Studies Librarian for Southwark and wrote “The Story of Dulwich”. A street in Camberwell has been named after her, and a full obituary published in the Dulwich Society Journal.

The Journal has expanded its coverage of local history with well illustrated articles publishing new discoveries, and it is particularly pleasing to see new contributors researching and writing. In 2010, the articles ranged from Christ’s Chapel in the early 17th century to the use of Dulwich Hospital as a military hospital in the First World War and a rocket attack in the Second World War. A number of local buildings, estates, architects, builders and local people have been featured in depth.

Contacts through the Society’s website from as far away as Australia, have provided information on local residents such as Charles Drake, the builder of the early concrete house in Lordship Lane and Lionel Logue, George VI’s speech therapist. A variety of queries have been also answered, such as the location of the former Samuel Jones Sports Club (where the rock group Status Quo played their first gig) and the house of Hiram Maxim.
     
Bernard Nurse, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GARDEN GROUP - 2010

The group produced the 2010 edition of ‘Dulwich Gardens open for Charity’, which for the first time included colour photographs of some of the gardens.  We also printed more copies of the booklet (5000) because of strong demand the previous year. The new edition was widely welcomed by both garden owners and visitors.

The first event of our year was a really interesting talk by one of the country’s leading experts on Auriculars, Bill Lockyer. The event was very well attended and plant sales were a record.

In May, we arranged a full day tour to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens. We were very lucky – it was a glorious day and the gardens were at their best with masses of Azaleas and Rhododendrons in full bloom.

A few days later we went on a private visit to Buckingham Palace gardens. It was a good day with fine weather and the staff were very helpful, but there wasn’t a lot of colour in the garden. It seems that it is designed to be at its best for the Royal Garden Parties – we were a little too early.

John Ward, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREES COMMITTEE - 2010

The Festival Tree Walk was again led by Letta Jones, visiting Peckham Park, largely unknown by Dulwich locals.   The weather was deplorable, and in 9 degrees C only about 10 people turned up to see this excellent park, with its  NZ Kowhai tree in full brilliant yellow (Letta was not phased by this rare flowering).

The Zelkova at the College crossroads was the cause of much anxiety and variety of opinion. Its ‘lean’ had finally been judged as unsafe by Tfl, and local feeling wanted the tree saved, by means of pollarding the main canopy, with a hope that growth would regenerate  in the Spring. This view was supported by expert voices, including those from the LBS. The Dulwich Estate, and their experts preferred that the tree be removed, and another planted as replacement. Time will tell whether any new growth will prove acceptable, but at the moment it is rather a stark statue.

The run of large trees along the east side of College Road is thought to be causing subsidence to the adjacent houses. At least two trees have already been felled, and this year the DE agreed to provide a root barrier beside a very large Tulip tree near the Park gates. The cost of this will be appear on our individual Scheme of Management accounts, but at least  the potential threat  to our local streetscape of magnificent trees has found an alternative response.

A visit to see the Autumn colours at Sheffield Park, and at Nymans, was well attended and much admired. Another NZ rarity, the newly discovered Wollomi pine, is settling in well.

The Beech Grove in the Horniman Triangle has not had a happy start, with extremes of drought and ice. The café was vandalised, but a proper water source (and toilets) have now been provided, so watering is at least a possibility.

The Tree map continues to sell well (especially through the Pavilion Café) and a copy is given to each new member of the Dulwich Society. Members of the Tree Committee continue to contribute profiles of ‘Interesting Trees in Dulwich’ to the Journal.

Jill Manuel, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE WILDLIFE COMMITTEE - 2010

Detailed, expert ecological surveys of our natural surroundings are the key to preserving and improving habitats - and hence preventing species sliding off the map in the face of increasing human population pressures. Only by discovering and laboriously cataloguing everything that is living in one hedgerow, stand of trees or span of unimproved grassland can we hope to hang onto our biodiversity heritage, let alone enhance it.

To that end, the Society’s Wildlife Committee commissioned a number of plant and wildlife surveys, focusing on plant life in Dulwich Park and along the Gallery Road corridors, and on bird species locally during the year. The Committee also tapped into the considerable natural history expertise within its own ranks and, as a result, proved the continued existence of hole-nesting Little Owls within Belair Park, and tawny owls in Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods.

This, in turn, fuelled a Dulwich Community Council grant for new owl nest boxes in key areas.  Migrating swifts, which rely upon returning to known nesting areas each year, have also been given a conservation boost by the upcoming installation of nest boxes on one of the Dulwich Park lodges. Visiting Redwings descended in “startling” numbers during an early year cold snap, both nationally and locally - some 250 were spotted in Dulwich Park. The continued presence of particular birds, of course, “ticks all the right boxes”, conservation-wise, because it shows that the food (whether insects, seeds, berries or bought-in dried mixes of same) and shelter required for successful breeding continue to be in place in sufficient abundance in the Dulwich area, both in private gardens, and on public and Estate lands. Likewise, Dulwich parks have been shown to support a number of Biodiversity Action Plan bat species - locally recorded species include both kinds of Pipistrelles, Leisler’s and Daubenton’s; all use the locality for feeding on insect prey and Daubenton’s are believed to use Dulwich Park as a breeding ground.

The Society’s thanks for their work and advice during the year go to Wildlife Committee “birdmen” Dave Clark, Stephen Robinson and Dr Peter Roseveare, for their observations and enthusiastic campaigning, and to Southwark‘s Ecology Officer, Jon Best, and Head of Parks, Paul Highman, for “making things happen“.

Former Natural History Museum curator of flowering plants, and a specialist in the folklore and uses of plants, Dr Roy Vickery, was “frankly surprised and delighted” by the number of traditional plant species he recorded in Dulwich Park on a number of surveys sponsored by the Dulwich Society. He was equally impressed by the variety of native “countryside” plants he found alongside Gallery Road (where the old hedgerow has been enhanced through whip-planting with the help of Alan Scott Ecology and the London Wildlife Trust). Dulwich Park’s areas of rough grassland yielded meadow grass species with such fascinating names as Timothy, Mouse-ear, Cocksfoot and Yorkshire fog, and its pastureland heritage ecology has been incorporated in the new signage for this park’s Woodland Walk perimeter and Village Copse. A full list of the recorded plants is available from the South London Botanical Institute, 323 Norwood Road, London SE24 9AQ, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Society also supported a successful £10,000 Dulwich Community Council grant bid by the Friends of Belair Park for a removable silt trap and reed bed filter to improve water quality in the lake. Work on this is ongoing and will be combined with tree works that will let more light into the water, following an ecological survey commissioned by Southwark.

A half-dozen disease-resistant English Elm whips were planted in the Gallery Road area, donated by Butterfly Conservation. Elms provide food for the scarce White-letter hairstreak butterfly, still “hanging on by its fingertips!” in the Dulwich area, says Malcolm Bridge, recorder for the charity’s Surrey and south London areas.

Most Dulwich residents welcome the wildlife “on their doorsteps”, but the Committee provided some useful humane deterrence tips in the Autumn Journal for those who draw the line at fox soiling and urine marking on those doorsteps. Finally, the Committee’s representatives were invited to advise Natural England on how best to manage visitor access Sydenham Hill Woods and to tackle problems of trampling and over-use by professional dog walkers in this Nature Reserve.

Angela Wilkes, Chair.

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