Community Councils have been in existence for the past five years and have taken on the character of an Anglo Saxon Folkmoot whereby everyone in the community is allowed (briefly) to have his or her say. The Dulwich Community Council meeting held at the beginning of December was so crowded by residents who wanted to hear more about the proposals for traffic calming in the area that a separate public meeting, solely to discuss these proposals was held on Thursday 9th December in St Barnabas Hall. It was clear from the mood of the audience that while it was generally in favour of slower or less traffic it was extremely hostile to suggestions of more humps and bumps in residential roads. There was an acknowledgement that both College Road and Gallery Road need some form of speed restrictions, the most popular one being voiced was for average speed cameras. Numerous questions and criticisms of the Council’s plan were voiced, not least about costs, when it was learnt that each hump costs over £400 while raised crossings and speed table are in the region of £15,000-20,000. There was particular criticism reserved for the treatment proposed for road exits at both ends of Court Lane as well as incredulity at the proposal to make Townley Road the major road thus creating a potential hazard for Alleyn’s schoolchildren and other pedestrians. This particular junction has been altered at least twice, at great cost and inconvenience to residents.
Curiously, there seemed to be no realisation by the planners that Dulwich Village is one of Central London’s access routes from the south and that because of its concentration of railway lines and sports fields which act as barriers, roads like Turney Road and Calton Avenue are the only logical routes from east to west. To deny traffic along these routes is force the problem onto already busy roads elsewhere like Croxted Road and Lordship Lane.
It was also disconcerting that Southwark Council officers boasted of “pots of money from Transport for London” and elsewhere being available for this hugely expensive project. In these dire economic times, many of those attending were wondering if they were living on the same planet as those presenting the proposals.
Those households in the area who would be directly affected by the outline proposals received a consultation document and questionnaire from the Council to be returned by15th December. It will be interesting to hear if the results of this consultation will be made public and if they are will the Council take the slightest notice in its apparent enthusiasm for the scheme.
In the Dulwich Society News column in this Newsletter, Alastair Hanton sets out the Society’s additional proposals and invites the membership to comment.
There has been a good response to the appeal in the last Newsletter for assistance in distributing the quarterly issues. Five members have agreed to help and there are vacancies for more. Please contact the Chairman, Ian McInnes if you think you might be able join the distribution team.
The image of Dulwich as a leafy and pleasant living environment is a seductive one and for most residents largely true. However, attendance at two recent meetings of the local Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams (which consist of police, councillors, neighbourhood watch group representatives and other community activists) has shown that in some parts of Dulwich, this is not always an accurate picture.
Low Cross Wood Lane runs through the Dulwich Woods from College Road up to Crescent Wood Road. It is a very steep slope and is used extensively by residents in Great Brownings, Peckarmans Wood, Woodsyre, and the many other people who live off Sydenham Hill, as a short cut to/from their trains at Sydenham Hill Station.
Earlier last year it suffered a serious crime wave. People were mugged, during the evening and the day, school children were hassled, and stones were thrown at windows of the houses that border the upper parts of the Lane. The police were alerted to the ongoing problem through the Safer Neighbourhood Team and had some success in catching the perpetrators, but local residents lobbied for more to be done to make the lane safer for the longer term.
Following a detailed inspection by crime prevention officers, and a report prepared by members of local neighbourhood watch groups, Southwark Councillors have been active in securing improved lighting (due to be installed in March) and there are other possibilities that could be funded through the Council’s Safer Cleaner Greener funding. Many residents also feel that the Dulwich Estate could also have been more proactive in pruning overgrown vegetation and removing graffiti.
Further north, in Village Ward, statistics show that some crimes, particularly robbery, are much higher than the Southwark average (and indeed the London-wide average) - mugging for mobile phones in or near the Park seem to be the main reason. Again the Safer Neighbourhood Team has prioritised the local beat team who have achieved good results.
Every ward has its own Safer Neighbourhood Team and they need committed volunteers to participate. They are actively seeking involvement from all members of the community whether they are young or old, owner occupiers or social housing tenants. They offer genuine opportunities for public participation and a real opportunity to make a difference in the local community.
Enclosed with this issue is a copy of the Dulwich Society’s new annual publication ‘Dulwich Gardens - open for charity, 2009’. It has been compiled by the Society’s Garden Group to encourage residents to visit the many splendid local gardens that are open each year to raise money for charity.
Because of this Garden Group will not be opening any gardens in the future, so members on the Garden Group membership list will no longer receive “invitations” to garden openings. Instead, they and all members of the Dulwich Society, will receive a copy of ‘Dulwich Gardens open for charity’ which gives details of nearly 40 local gardens that are open for charity. Almost every weekend, throughout the summer, there will be at least one garden open. It is hoped that this new arrangement will greatly widen the scope of garden visits. A new Directory will be published each year.
Apart from the enjoyment of the garden and of meeting many other local people, you can learn a lot from these visits. You can discover new and interesting plants to grow and find out when and where to plant them. In this ‘going greener’ age, you can also learn which are the best fruit and vegetables to grow - and this can be done even if your garden is not much bigger than a window box.
Enjoy your visits!
This year, for the first time, Dulwich will be entering the Royal Horticultural Society’s competition, Britain in Bloom. In past years Dulwich has been included as part of the Southwark entry, and last year Southwark was one of the London finalists.
So we start from a strong position.
The judges will consider three main areas:-
1. Public space and public buildings - parks, recreational areas, etc.
2. Business and commercial - shops, retail areas, railway stations, etc.
3. Residential front gardens - both individual front gardens and streets or estates.
The judges are particularly interested in community involvement.
Judging will take place at the beginning of August. You can help Dulwich win by ensuring that your front garden looks at its best at that time, or by joining with your neighbours in a street or community project.
Stella has been the Trees Committee Chairman for 25 years or more, ever watchful and devoted to our wooded landscape.
In this time she has organised (with others) the Historic Elm Slice (now in St. Barnabas Hall), planting in Bell Meadow, the Nature Trail and the Village Copse in the Park, the great illustrated Dulwich Tree Map, the new Dulwich Picture Gallery Tree map, and much more.
All this with charm, energy and determination, and while standing down now, is still full of ideas for projects, and I know we will continue to look to her for advice and inspiration. This can only be a very inadequate thank you from the Trees Committee and us all in the Dulwich Society.
After many regrettable delays over several years it seems that there may finally be an occupier for College Lodge, next to the main gate to Dulwich Park
The Council asked for expressions of interest late last year and the Society understands that a recommendation has been made. While the Society is keen to see the building refurbished and occupied, the key aspect of any tenant agreement must be that they offer public access and uses that are complimentary to the Park.
Southwark had asked for a substantial financial contribution from the successful applicant but has now accepted that this may take time in today’s more stringent economic climate. It has given instructions to its in-house team to start procuring a contractor to carry out external refurbishment works for which the Council already has funds set side.
This still leaves something to be done with the Roseberry Gate Lodge. The Friends of Dulwich Park want this used as a base for the park wardens who, at the moment, are based in Burgess Park, in the north of the Borough, a reasonable suggestion most would think, yet Southwark seems strangely unwilling to do it. Let’s hope we do not have to wait another five years before something is done.
While it remains unclear whether East Dulwich Police Station will remain operational in the medium term, there is a possibility that one of the empty shops on the Kingswood Estate shopping parade could be used as a base for the College Ward Neighbourhood Police Team. This is a positive step to locate beat officers in their local area and it should hopefully result in quicker response times to calls for assistance.
Service access to the shops on the south side of Half Moon Lane is via a car park accessed off Stradella Road. Local residents complain that security is lax - it has been a meeting place for drug dealers, and the shopkeepers are not as careful as they should be with their rubbish. The Dulwich Estate is responsible for the area and residents feel that their complaints are not being taken seriously enough.
by Alastair Hanton
As we go to press, we await the decision of the Dulwich Community Council on some significant changes to our streets in the Village. The changes which Southwark Council has designed are intended to calm traffic to a speed limit of 20 mph. The junction in the centre of the Village would be altered to favour pedestrians; the entrance to Court Lane from Lordship Lane would be narrowed to discourage lorries through the Village; the crossing of Court Lane to Dulwich Park would be made safer for pedestrians; traffic in Calton Avenue would be reduced by realigning its junction with Townley Road; and somewhat more controversially, more humps would be put in to slow vehicles.
Separately from these changes, the Dulwich Society, jointly with Dulwich Going Greener has suggested to the Community Council more measures to make our area cleaner, greener and safer. You can see these proposals on the Society’s website. They include:
Changes to make it pleasanter and safer to walk rather than drive, such as: repairs to damaged pavements, clearing back the vegetation on Gallery Road; traditional Dulwich white posts and chains protecting pedestrians on narrow pavements like parts of Court Lane, Red Post Hill and the South Circular; a raised crossing on Gallery Road opposite Lover’s Lane and a refuge or crossing between the shops on both sides of Half Moon Lane near Stradella Road.
Help for cycling, such as advance stop lines at traffic lights; more cycle parking and a local cycle hire scheme.
Changes to encourage more walking and cycling to school, such as an all-red phase at the junction of College Road and the South Circular; a possible safe route across the Velodrome site; shared use of footways by pupils under 13.
Better public transport, such as ramps at West Dulwich station for buggies, wheelchairs and cycles; seats, shelters and indicators at bus stops. Our Councillors have been lobbying for years to extend the 42 bus, now terminating in Red Post Hill, to Sainsbury’s, Dog Kennel Hill. This would provide a direct link between King’s College Hospital and Dulwich Community Hospital.
Do please let us know what you think about these ideas and any other suggestions. Alastair Hanton, Traffic and Transport Committee (tel 020 8693 2618)
The condition of the Marlborough Cricket ground on the South Circular/Lordship Lane junction continues to give the Society cause for concern. It has repeatedly brought it up at its regular meetings with the Dulwich Estate but, despite assurances of action, little improvement seems to happen. Being located on the edge of the Estate is no reason for standards to drop and the site’s poor condition adds to the general deteriorating ambience in the area - including St Peter’s Church Hall and boundary wall, and the crumbling old concrete house on Lordship Lane. These are eyesores that the Council should have dealt with by now