DULWICH SOCIETY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – April 2014

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS for 2013

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
2013 was the Society’s fiftieth anniversary. The ‘Dulwich 63’ exhibition in the Dulwich College Library started the year’s celebratory events and this was followed by a series of talks and walks on Dulwich’s development history held in conjunction with the Picture Gallery. Through the year the Local History group organised a series of 12 World War II memorial plaque installations –commemorating the multiple deaths of civilians by enemy action in the Second World War. A well-attended Autumn event in the St Barnabas Village Hall rounded off the year.

 

Further good news is that the Society finally came to an agreement with the Council about taking over Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park as the ‘Dulwich Archive’. Refurbishment took place in February and March and the Archive will be opened officially in May.

The work on turning the Crown and Greyhound into a hotel is due to start shortly but the news on the West Dulwich Dairy site is not so good as negotiations with the Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group on the new GP surgery there appear to have stalled.

The Society and local residents were consulted on the Estate’s proposed redevelopment of the S G Smith site and we are waiting a further public consultation on a revised scheme which will have smaller units.

The Half Moon pub was severely damaged in the Herne Hill floods and is unlikely to reopen before June – this has also delayed the estate’s proposed conversion of the upper floors into flats.

The Grove pub at the junction of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane remains closed – despite frequent questions the Estate will not tell us what they are proposing to do on the site.

The St Faiths Vicarage remains boarded up and the Society is [pressuring the Estate and the local C of E to do something.

A bit of a surprise was the arrival of the Judith Kerr free School - parachuted onto the former Sir James Black Laboratory site on Half Moon Lane during the early summer. There were concerns about the implications for local traffic but, so far, this has been OK, and it is a good use for a site that had been vacant for a while. The existing building has turned out to be eminently usable as a school and the school management has made a conscious effort to liaise with adjacent residents.

The Society continued to play an active part in the Council’s consultation to produce a local flood prevention strategy – the Council secured funding and the scheme is currently in for planning.

The winner of the completion for the replacement for the stolen Barbara Hepworth statue in Dulwich Park was Ryan Gosling and work on fabrication his proposal is to begin shortly – we hope that it will be in place before the end of the year.

The Council’s ‘south of the borough’ events series which tied in with the Dulwich Festival were generally seen as a positive step, particularly the scarecrow

We continue to monitor the Estate’s implementation of the Scheme of Management through the Advisory group, which met three times during the year. There have been improvements in the replacement and maintenance of broken fences and posts and chains – including the fence to Belair Cottages on Gallery Road – finally repaired after 5 years.

The Society put in bids at the end of 2013 for Cleaner Greener Safer funding (CGS) and projects include:

All Wards:
World War 2 Plaque Guide (£2,000)

College Ward:
Enhance the terrace in front of the Crystal Palace subway (there is funding for the work to the steps) but they need something to make good the terrace (£7,500).

Replace the lost width restrictor to the bridge on Hunts Lip Road (£500).

Village Ward:
Install hard surface below the Mark Evison memorial bench in the Village (£750)

Refurbishment and redecoration of white posts and chains on the north end of Dulwich Village between East Dulwich Grove and the St Barnabas Village Hall (£5,000)

Install a new pedestrian crossing on Gallery Road opposite the entrance to Lovers Walk (£45,000)

The work on the re-installation of a central pedestrian refuge at the end of Burbage Road should go ahead this year.

With its wide range of articles on all aspects of local interest, the Society’s Journal continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership. To assist the Dulwich Estate in their consultation over new solar panel guidance notes, the Society carried out a membership consultation through the Journal.

The demand for the Society’s annual booklet on ‘Dulwich gardens open for Charity’ continues. We have a new editor, Anne Rutherford, and you will have received your latest copy in the March Journal.

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 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 on 6 occasions.

A major feature of the year was the commemoration of the Society’s founding 50 years ago in October 1963. Celebrations started with an Exhibition ‘Dulwich 63’ in the Wodehouse Library of Dulwich College which ran from January to March and which was launched by a celebration attended by about 160 members and dignitaries. The Exhibition displayed many photographs, maps, posters and other items reminding us of changes in the area over half a century. Ian McInnes and Bernard Nurse were mainly responsible for the display, and we are very grateful to the College for its assistance and generosity in making the space available. This was followed by 3 lectures at the Picture Gallery on the development of Dulwich, and a walk highlighting some of the residential re-development which has taken place. The final celebration of the year was a Party in October at St.Barnabas Parish Hall with entertainment provided by pupils from Alleyn’s and JAGS, and the showing of the film made in 1967 of the Millennium celebrations of the first recorded mention of Dulwich.

On a more sombre note we also marked our anniversary by commissioning and installing 12 plaques in the area where 3 or more victims were killed by enemy action during the Second World War; in a number of cases the unveiling was carried out by relatives, or neighbours, of those killed.

Amongst other activities we arranged a Public Meeting with Local Councillors from the 3 main parties which gave an opportunity to raise local issues. We have also been involved in the discussions relating to the replacement for the Barbara Hepworth sculpture most distressingly stolen from Dulwich Park, and also following reoccurring floods (and the Herne Hill water main burst) pressing for remedial action.

Patrick Spencer, Hon Secretary

MEMBERSHIP REPORT
Despite the economic pressures our numbers increased (albeit at a low level) in 2013. We lost 33 members but gained 46 new members. We now have 1100 members.

Most members have signed up so that we can claim gift aid and we were able to claim £2280.34 from HMRC for the financial year 2012-13.

In order to save postage costs we are trying to increase the numbers of journals delivered by hand and are pleased that we now have volunteers to deliver in East Dulwich. However, almost 10% of journals are still delivered by post. In another attempt to save on postage only two reminders are being sent to members who have not sent in their annual subscription (due on January 1st) and their names will be removed from the membership at the end of March if no money has been received.

Diana McInnes, Membership Secretary

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP
The Planning and Architecture Group continues to make monthly visits to the Old Grammar School on the corner of Burbage Road. The Group exercises the Dulwich Society’s right, as the only local amenity group, to comment on licence applications made to the Dulwich Estate’s Scheme of Management. This year 175 licence applications were commented on, down from 190 in 2012. As the previous year, loft conversions with rear dormers and garden buildings remain popular applications. Relatively few solar panel applications were received this year now that there is no commercial incentive.

Planning Applications:
60 Dulwich Village : Planning permissions were granted for the demolition of the raised 20th century side extension and single storey rear extension; the construction of a side and rear extension ; other refurbishment works including alterations to a sloping roof, removal of render to the side and rear and restoration/ replacement of brickwork.

The Crown and Greyhound, 73 Dulwich Village: Planning permission was granted to the Dulwich Estate on 26 March 2013 for a restored public house, function rooms and 20 bedroom hotel with landscaping and car parking.

Dulwich College, Science Block: Planning permission was granted on 13 March 2013 for the demolition of the existing college science building and the construction of a new two and three storey science building and associated landscaping. Conditions attached to the permission included the requirement for a construction method statement, re-allocation of parking spaces, detailed construction drawings of rooflights, lift & plan housing enclosures & screens, fenestration and doors, cladding panel system including artistic adornments, solar screens to the auditorium and the coping and roof edge detail, submission and approval of material samples for terracotta and concrete cladding panels and other materials, tree protection measures, landscaping measures, provision of four nesting boxes and four bat bricks/tubes, a BREEAM assessment, details of the solar panels, and a sustainable urban drainage scheme for rain. Details of the cladding panel system have been submitted with the terracotta and concrete panels showing a tessellated arrangement on panels with variation in relief, texture, colour and finish. Sculptor, Peter Randall-Page – ‘Walking the Dog‘ sculpture at the Dulwich Picture Gallery - has advised on the aesthetic development of the panels.

St Peter’s/Deeper Life Bible Church – Restoration of the boundary wall: Planning permission for works to repair the boundary wall to the churchyard along Lordship Lane, including iron railings, rebuilding the stone gate posts, removal of the modern fall gate and installation of three turn down bollards was approved on 13 December 2013. A planning application has been made for the provision of car and cycle parking, a new pedestrian footpath, permeable paving and landscaping in front of St Peter’s Church Hall. The Dulwich Society supports these improvements

Streatham and Marlborough Cricket Club on Dulwich Common: A planning application was submitted on 13 May 2013 to demolish the existing dilapidated cricket pavilion and other buildings and the construction of a single modern pavilion building to provide facilities for the wide range of cricketing activities - men, women and children across a spectrum of backgrounds - undertaken by the club. The Dulwich Society supports the new pavilion initiative.

Camber Lawn Tennis Club on Dulwich Common: Following the destructive fire at the clubhouse, a planning application for a new clubhouse was granted permission by Southwark Council on 10 December 2013.

The Dairy site, 13-19 Croxted Road: The Dulwich Estate’s planning application to Lambeth Council to develop the site with a mixture of retail units, a doctor’s surgery and nine residential flats has been granted planning permission.

Dulwich Sports Ground, 102-106 Turney Road: Southwark Community Sports Trust (SCST): A planning application has been made for a single storey timber clad building for use as a children’s day nursery and for evening sports teaching facilities. A retrospective planning application has been made for a 2 bedroom flat within the existing sports pavilion to change from auxiliary D2 to C3 residential accommodation. These applications are on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and have generated controversy in Dulwich. Those residents against the applications wish to maintain MOL as being solely sports related, while those in support consider that these commercial elements would generate income to pay the substantial rent due to the Dulwich Estate and so keep the sports ground operative. The applications were approved in February.

Other Matters:
The Concrete House, 549 Lordship Lane: Conversion of and restoration works to the Grade II listed building have been completed and the five 1-bedroom and two 2-bedroom flats were occupied early in 2014.

Dulwich Mill Pond: The cleaning out and improvement scheme of this amenity space has been completed by the Dulwich Estate with the pond and its environs having a much improved appearance and sustainable formation.

David Lloyd Roberts, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT COMMITTEE
Railway Services:
The Department for Transport has short listed five bidders for the combined 10 year franchise for the railway services currently provided by Southern, South-Eastern and Thameslink. We have made proposals to each of these, including for better services to Victoria from North and East Dulwich, actually on the same basis as provided one hundred years ago.

We continue to press for better access to West Dulwich station by people with disabilities, buggies and wheelchairs, and the renaming of Sydenham Hill station to ‘South Dulwich and Kingswood’.

Step free access at North Dulwich station will be a very expensive project, so it is unrealistic to expect funds to be made available until other major changes are necessary on this site. We will await the opportunity to bring the matter back into the frame in the future.

Herne Hill Velodrome:
Plans for a reduced size pavilion are now complete, requiring no additional vehicle entrance. Planning consent will be sought shortly.

Paxton Green Gyratory:
After extensive consultation, work has now begun on improving the safety for those using this roundabout. The scheme includes improvements to the frontage of the Health Centre, measures to slow traffic, safety features for cycling and for pupils of Kingsdale School.

Safe Routes to School:
We continue to collaborate with the Safe Routes to School Group of parents and school staff seeking to increase numbers of school pupils walking and cycling to school. Based on the group’s survey of the 10,000 pupils at the 19 main schools in Dulwich, the following has been achieved:

1.    Transport for London, with the support of the Mayor’s Commissioner for Cycling, has provided Southwark Council with funds for safety improvements at the junction of East Dulwich Grove and Greendale. This lies between Alleyns and JAGS, schools which have about two thousand pupils between them.

2.    Funds have been provided for promoting cycling to and from schools

3.    Southwark Council has applied to Transport for London for £2,000,000 to make roads safer for cycling.

4.    A plan for a walking and cycling path from Burbage Road to Dulwich Village through the Velodrome and Griffin sites is being developed.

Road Safety:
1.    The danger to pedestrians on Gallery Road was made only too clear last year when a local resident was hit by a speeding motor cyclist near Lovers Lane, suffering a broken leg. In January of this year the Community Council made a Cleaner Greener Safer award to fund the creation of a crossing on Gallery Road which will link the new pedestrian entrance to Belair Park with Lovers Lane.

2.    Southwark Council has agreed to restrict parking to improve visibility and reduce traffic delays on College Road.

3.    The Community Council has agreed to make a Cleaner Greener Safer grant for a pedestrian refuge near the junction of Burbage Road with the roundabout in Dulwich Village. Final details will be available at the Dulwich Community Council meeting in March 2014.

Replacement of railway bridges:
The first two bridges in Croxted Road and Rosendale Road have been completed, and work on the third bridge in Village Way will now take place in April.
   
Pigeon Droppings beneath the railway bridge at Herne Hill:
Network Rail plans to carry out structural repairs and redecoration of the main railway bridge at Herne Hill. This will cause major traffic difficulties, but it is expected that the work will commence in July. As part of the project a pigeon proofing system of galvanized steel mesh will be secured to the girders under the bridge and plastic spikes fitted to the top edge of the advertising hoardings on the side wall to deter the pigeons from roosting there.

Car Parking outside the shops in Dulwich Village:
The traders have now accepted the need for longitudinal limited time parking, because many of the existing spaces are occupied all day by commuters, rather than by shoppers.

Controlled Parking zones and car parking:
Commuters are now able to pay parking fees by telephone, and this is allowing them to park all day in the controlled 12 noon to 2 pm parking zones. Payment is only needed by non-residents between these two hours and therefore a telephone call just before 12 noon can secure legal paid parking for 2 hours. This problem has just emerged and a solution will need to be found.

Fatal Crash in the Autumn of 2013 on the South Circular Road at the junction of Gallery Road:
It has proved difficult to obtain full information about this accident and we have written to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, seeking to meet with his representative to identify any immediate issues which can be addressed by Transport for London to try and prevent a repeat of such a tragedy in the future. Also, to seek a review of the processes of enquiry into road deaths, which is much less thorough compared to deaths on the railways, in the air or at sea, and how his office might improve transparency.

Buses used on Route Number 42 (Sunray Avenue to Liverpool Street):
Contact has been made with London Buses seeking a meeting with one of their route planners to discuss an extension to the existing route of the Number 42 bus. The local population is growing steadily and is increasingly using the bus services, and such an extension would represent a meaningful improvement in the Dulwich area.

Alastair Hanton, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
The main activity during the year has been the unveiling of twelve plaques commemorating civilian casualties in the area during World War II. This project has aroused considerable interest and been reported on BBC television news. Southwark Council has agreed to fund a leaflet giving the locations and brief details of the incidents. Many historical articles on this and other subjects were published in the Society’s Journal.

Some of the other work of members of the committee has been carried out in co-operation with other local groups, for example the Herne Hill Society in revising their Heritage Trail published in 2014. Three well-supported talks on the development of Dulwich since Victorian times were given at the Dulwich Picture Gallery as part of the Society’s 50th anniversary celebrations. As in previous years, popular history walks were led during the Dulwich Festival. Help has been given to Southwark Council for an information board in Sunray Gardens about the Sunray Estate and the former Casino House on the site.

Future projects include contributing to an online interactive map of local sites associated with World War I for the forthcoming centenary and research on local public houses for a publication in conjunction with the Herne Hill Society.

Bernard Nurse, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GARDEN GROUP
In March, Paul Cooling of Cooling’s Garden Centre gave a talk to about 50 of our members and got our year off to an excellent start. 2013 was Cooling’s centenary year, so we heard something of the history of this award winning nursery, as well as getting detailed information on how to get the best from our plants and gardens.

Five thousand copies of our annual publication ‘Dulwich Gardens open for Charity’ were distributed during March and April. The booklet gives detailed information and photographs of over 50 local garden openings, which, between them, raise considerable sums for charities, including the National Gardens Scheme (money for cancer, caring and gardening charities), St Christopher’s Hospice, Dulwich Helpline and many others.

In June over 50 of us visited Parham House in West Sussex. We had really interesting guided tours of both the house and the garden - a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Thanks are due to our committee members who worked hard to organise these events. Three members, Eileen Thorn, Josephine Lock and Willis Walker resigned during the year – we are very grateful to them for all their work over the past years. After over 20 years, our Chairman, John Ward is stepping down, although he will remain on the committee. He will be succeeded as Chairman by Jeremy Prescott, to whom I wish every success.

John Ward, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREES COMMITTEE
With great sadness we report the loss of Stella Benwell, for many years Chair of the Trees Committee. She was an indefatigable lover and planter of trees, and led many a campaign for supporting planting, saving and monitoring so much of our Tree heritage in Dulwich.

The development of plans for Flood Relief schemes in Dulwich Park and Belair occupied many months of suggestions and counter suggestions. The work in Belair will be the most noticeable, and will entail the loss of at least 4 trees planned and planted in the South Lawn by Stella. The necessary excavations required mean that the soil level will be lowered and make it impossible to save the trees (cork oak, Pride of India, Catalpa and Pterocarrya) Replacements are promised. The Dulwich Park plans have been under review several times, but now continue to preserve as many of the trees as possible, with particular attention to the large boundary oaks.

The Trees Committee’s work was well represented at the Society’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition, and funds were made available for two trees to be planted in the Park, near the Lake, a Huntingdon Elm and a Sweet Chestnut in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee.

The 2013 edition of The Remarkable Trees in Dulwich illustrated map was issued, free to all members of the Society, to mark the celebration of the 50th Anniversary. The Map has been brought up to date, and certain areas rearranged for greater clarity. The map can be supplied unfolded for display purposes.

The Trees Committee’s Autumn outing took us to Myddleton House, home and garden of EA Bowles, the famous plantsman. We were introduced by the Head Gardener to the wide range of trees and plants there, including Bowles’
‘Lunatic Asylum’ where he planted his most unusual specimens. The house is overlooked by a Giant Redwood and, by an old wall with a 110 year old wisteria. We carried on to Capel Manor College which teaches ‘land based’ skills. The wide range of subjects includes amongst others, garden design, saddlery, care of small animals and Tree work.

The Journal continues to print each quarter a profile and photo of an interesting local tree, (Wing Nut, Dawn Redwood, Liquidamber, and Cornus mas) and we can now report the discovery of a new addition to the Trees of Dulwich, a Lyonothamnus, (Catalina Ironwood), native of Southern California.

There is a continuous threat to our trees from the requests to fell those which are thought by insurance companies to be the cause of structural subsidence to properties. We are able to join the Estate’s inspection visit on some such occasions.

Jill Manuel, Chair

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE WILDLIFE COMMITTEE
Nature’s Calendar continues to fast-forward and changing climate and dramatic weather patterns are all throwing in some treats for the local wildlife watcher. There have been some interesting bird sightings over the year. Local sparrow hawks and kestrels, for example, already familiar to south-east Londoners, have been joined by those larger birds-of-prey more usually spotted in countryside settings near farmland: in February last year, there were two separate sightings of Common Buzzard, over Dulwich and East Dulwich.

Last winter’s extreme cold brought in a record number of big winter thrushes to our area –including a flock of 75 in Grange Lane leading up to Sydenham Hill and Dulwich Woods – seeking berry food once countryside stocks had been depleted. And it was a good year for bird-spotters overall, with willow warblers and a Pied Flycatcher in Dulwich Park adding to the observer’s tick list. The avian numbers and variety serves to underline just how important our green spaces, from private gardens to public parks and landscaping round estates are for hungry birds and small mammals.

In this vein, we are currently moving to enhance a number of new “larders” and sheltering habitats in this area. They will, hopefully, make Dulwich and East Dulwich even greater magnets to wildlife.

A Swift and House Martin Walk in Burbage Road highlighted the true and irreplaceable value of naturally-sited nests. We found one house with an annual House Martin nursery in the form of a cup-shaped nest under the eaves, happily positioned so that its unfledged occupants could be watched at feeding times from a landing window – much to the delight of the human youngsters in the household. It goes to show that you can’t beat a site chosen by the parent birds themselves, to which they will return, year after year.

So, please, if you do have the remains of last year’s glued-together-with-bird-spit nest high up on your outside wall at home, don’t destroy it when you redecorate. We have distributed 400 leaflets to make people aware of the amazing journey swifts make in order to bring up their babies in our neighbourhood.  And don’t worry about bird lime soiling your facade. The mother bird always removes the nestlings’ faecal sacs and drops them away from the house, in order to avoid attracting predators to the nest.

We liaised with the London Wildlife Trust over their Living Landscapes initiative for the remnants of the Great North Wood in our area, namely Dulwich Upper Wood and Sydenham Hill and Dulwich Woods. The scheme aims to create and connect natural green spaces to make them more valuable to wildlife.

We also attended several meetings at which plans for flood alleviation works in Dulwich and Belair Parks were discussed, aimed at avoiding a repeat of the flash flood damage in Herne Hill a few years ago.  Current proposals include re-contouring and lowering soil levels in the parks. We are monitoring these plans with wildlife habitat protection in mind.

Angela Wilkes, Chair, Wildlife Sub-Committee

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