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.
Notice is hereby given that the 46th Annual General Meeting of the Dulwich Society will be held at 8.00pm on Thursday 2nd April 2009 at St Barnabas Church Centre, Calton Avenue, SE21 7DG.
1. Minutes of the 45th Annual General Meeting held on 29th April 2008 to be approved.
2. Chairman’s Report
3. Secretary’s Report.
4. Treasurer’s Report and presentation of accounts for 2008.
5. Appointment of Honorary Auditor.
6. Reports from Sub-Committee Chairmen.
7. Elections for 2009-2010. President, Vice-Presidents, Officers, Executive Committee.
8. Any Other Business.
Note: Nominations for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two (2) members not later than fourteen days before 2 April 2009 and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing. (Rule 9).
7 Pond Cottages
London SE21 7LE
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2008, the Chairman’s report and reports of the Sub-Committee Chairmen may be seen on the Dulwich Society Website www.dulwichsociety.com A hardcopy may be obtained by application to the Secretary.
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
The Dulwich Society has been having discussions with Southwark Council regarding Dulwich's unique finger post signs, many of which were looking worse for wear. Following Rosemary Dawson’s initiative in raising the matter, a grant was made from this year's Cleaner Greener Safer fund to carry out a restoration. However, Councillor Robin Crookshank Hilton investigated producing the finger posts from a new material and as a consequence a prototype of a new sign is being manufactured which should last considerably longer than the traditional timber signs. They will look exactly the same but be made of a 'timber effect' recycled material around a steel core. The first sign should be installed on the Dulwich Village/Burbage Road roundabout at the end of January. . As an interim measure the Council has carried out temporary repairs to the existing finger posts.
A similar specification to the proposed replacement finger posts is also to be tried out on the chain posts which are also prone to rotting, and samples will be installed around the grass verge in front of Barclays Bank in early February
It would be a satisfying nod towards Dulwich’s heritage if a signpost could be placed on Denmark Hill, thus replicating “the sign of the Red Post”, which stood there in the 18th century and gave its name to Red Post Hill.* One arm would point to Dulwich Village with the other arms indicating Herne Hill, Loughborough Junction, and Camberwell. Of course the new post should also be painted red with white letters. There are three such red posts still in existence in Dorset and one in Somerset.
It took several years of lobbying by the Dulwich Society to re-open the lane leading from Green Dale eastwards to the rear of Dulwich Hamlet FC ground and the Edgar Kail Park beside Sainsbury’s on Dog Kennel Hill. This is now a well-used route for shoppers, cyclists and pedestrians but it has yet to receive a name. What about Searchlight Lane (after its wartime use) ? or Observatory Lane (recalling Bessemer’s observatory which stood at its western end) ?, or Tommy Jover Lane (in memory of the Hamlet’s winger) ? or Gaumont Lane (recalling the Gaumont film studio which once stood nearby) ? Please send you suggestions to the Newsletter c/o The Editor.
The article in the last Newsletter about the Dulwich Almshouse Charity mentioned another local charity, and readers may be interested to know more about it.
The purpose of the Camberwell Consolidated Charities (reg no. 208441) is the relief of poverty in the former Parish of Camberwell, which comprised Dulwich, Camberwell and Peckham. The endowment of the Charity brings together a number of gifts and bequests from the nineteenth century and earlier - one of its last remaining properties, now sold, was a small shop on Denmark Hill on what was formerly the site of the parish pound!
The Charity concentrates on retired residents who are having to manage at or just above the minimum income provided by the State, and currently has about 150 ‘pensioners’, most of them elderly women. Under the chairmanship of the late Carol Kay, who will have been known to many readers, the Trustees have succeeded in substantially enhancing the resources of the Charity. The remaining properties have been sold and the proceeds invested, and other investments usefully deployed. Ten years ago, the Charity was able to give £30 a year to its pensioners, in £10 notes sent through the post. In the current year it has been able to distribute £200 each plus £45 from the grant made by the Dulwich Almshouse Charity, sent by electronic transfer into the recipients’ building society or accounts. This is still a modest sum, but very worthwhile to those whose needs are greatest. The work of this Charity reminds us that although the State provides a basic safety net it still leaves many in very straightened circumstances.
The Trustees are always keen to talk to anyone who might be interested in joining them in this worthwhile task, particularly those with financial experience, or those who can help extend the Charity’s reach within our increasingly diverse society. The point of contact is the Hon Secretary John Palmer on 020 8693 6856.
The Society runs two houses in Stradella Road SE24, in the Stradella Road Conservation Area, providing sheltered accommodation for elderly people in a comfortable and friendly environment. Each house has a full time housekeeper and relief and the residents have their own self contained flats or ensuite bedsits, which they furnish as they choose. Two meals are provided each day in a communal dining room and there is a large garden for the residents’ use. Unusually, we currently have one vacancy in each house. These might very well suit residents with elderly relatives they would like to have living near them but who feel they are no longer capable of looking after themselves in their own homes. If you are interested in further information please contact Mobbs Pitcher on 01435 865376 or 0772167 or Caroline Wilkinson on 020-7733 6387.
The society is run by local volunteers and therefore has low overheads. New volunteers are always welcome.
Following the announcement in the last Newsletter that “Dulwich Going Greener” is pioneering A Model Allotment in Dulwich Park, supported by Dulwich Park Friends, I am glad to report that a site has been selected and agreed by the Park Authorities. It is the former garden of Roseberry Lodge.
We are now in a position to start clearing this overgrown site of ground ivy and other weeds and to open it up to obtain maximum sunlight. After this we will initiate a planting programme for the first year, together with suitable landscaping.
A successful outcome depends on the coordinated efforts of our volunteer workers.
If you are hunting for a little cheerfulness then look no further than the wonderful places and spaces we have in Dulwich this May. The Dulwich Festival will spring to life again from Friday 8th May with walks, talks, theatre, music and comedy. There is something in store for every reader, whatever your inclinations.
Exciting music will be on hand with contributions extending from classical to jazz via electro-acoustic. Everyone is welcome to join the scratch choral event on Sunday 10th May at JAGS which this year will be a performance of Carmina Burana under the baton of Leigh O’Hara. Local band, The Effras will be bringing their own special blend of music to the festival for the first time. The festival is also delighted to announce that the London Bulgarian Choir who appeared at last year’s Glastonbury and Latitute festivals will be performing their extraordinary repertoire on Thursday 14th May at All Saint’s Church.
A wonderful evening is promised for those who sally forth to hear critically acclaimed author and public speaker Fran Sandham as he tells the story of his solo journey across Africa. He will be visiting the Dulwich Picture Gallery on Wednesday 13th May as part of the festival to tell of his amazing feat which was accomplished completely alone; no support team, no sponsors, no film crew, no cheering crowds and no strings attached! An event not to be missed!
Children’s events abound in this year’s festival with film workshops, storytelling, theatre and the delightful Children’s Concert which this year will take place on Saturday 16th May at 11am at All Saint’s Church. ‘Bang! Bam! Wham!’ promises much fun for children of all ages!
Art will also be very much on the menu with the Artist’s Open House event which this year will see approaching 100 artists having their work on display throughout Dulwich. The event will take place across both weekends of the festival.
And this is just a selection of the delights in store! Tickets will go on sale from 14th April, so do make a date in your diary to visit the web-site and purchase your tickets to a series of wonderful events! www.dulwichfestival.co.uk
Alpha Hopkins (Director - Dulwich Festival)
In the autumn of 2006 the Dulwich Estate commissioned an environmental survey of the Dulwich Mill Pond as it had concerns over the amount of silt that had accumulated in it. The survey confirmed that this was the case - almost 50% of the potential volume of the water in the pond is silt, and suggested two possible options for dealing with the problem, both of them expensive. The pond comes under the Scheme of Management and any remedial work would be chargeable to local residents. The Society understands that the Estate is currently reviewing options for these works. The survey also noted a large area of Japanese Knotweed on the eastern bank and this has now been removed.