The Dulwich Society and Planning Applications

In the course of a year, two architect delegates from the Society’s Planning & Architecture Group, usually David Roberts and Oliver Probyn, together with the Group’s secretary Jean Howell, appraise all applications for external alterations received by the Dulwich Estate as Managers of the Scheme of Management, stating either no objection or an objection with a reason.

The applications are assessed in the first instance against the Dulwich Estate’s published guidelines covering fourteen categories which include conservatories, hard standings, loft conversions, replacement roofs and external repairs and redecorations.

This is a very onerous but important role. Each month the number might include as many as 15 applications. With the current economic climate making selling and moving more difficult, many householders are electing to extend their existing houses and the number is rising. There are at the moment a total of 64 applications outstanding. The most popular applications are from residents seeking to create extra space with either a rear extension or a loft conversion with a dormer window at the rear and rooflights to the side.

The need to allow buildings to adapt to changing lifestyle is acknowledged by the Group and where there is negative impact on the adjoining owners and the size is proportionate, there is less likelihood of an objection. Appropriate growth and change is seen by the Group as positive in giving new and better use of homes in Dulwich. However, there is an increasing tendency to submit applications which are totally out of scale with the building, in some cases doubling the size of the original ground plan. In such cases the Group will object to the application and it is referred to the Dulwich estate’s committee for a decision.

Sport in Dulwich

Sport does not feature highly in the Newsletter and this is perhaps surprising in view of the vast amount that is played in Dulwich. In an effort to rectify this omission, the first of two articles featuring Dulwich’s diverse sporting enthusiasms is featured in this issue.

Viewed from a railway carriage on one of Dulwich’s many viaducts, the amount of recreational space is obvious; it is a lot less obvious at street-level, where the many playing fields are tucked away behind streets of houses. The saving of the fields from the hands of the developers did not come as an accident or oversight. In 1905 the Dulwich Estate Governors voted to preserve some 127 acres of Dulwich’s 1500 acres as open space: “To be kept open for all time as playing fields, woods and ornamental works so that the district will be provided with oases for the health and recreation of the people, even if the other land is built upon.” Since then, considerable other tracts of the Dulwich Estate have been made available for the public’s enjoyment, admittedly not necessarily willingly by the Estate. Belair Park, Sydenham Hill Wood, Dulwich Upper Wood, Sunray Gardens and no doubt some other plots as well.

What the articles reveal is the good use this gift of land is being put to and the encouraging amount of interest in various sports shown by young people and equally, the commendable number of adults prepared to give their time to encourage them. In this issue we look at tennis, cricket, cycling, golf and rugby. In our next issue we consider soccer, rugby fives, running, squash and croquet.

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