The Estate has promised a more collaborative and responsive tone in its dealings with local ‘stakeholders’, and there has been some evidence that this is happening. The new signs on their development projects which say ‘Investing in Dulwich, improving commercial and residential property as part of our ongoing commitment to the area’ are a positive, as was the backing for last year’s Dulwich Village Christmas shopping event and the offer of financial assistance for a summer event later this year - all good, but the thing that all residents really want is to have the vacant shops let. The Society has been told several times by the Estate that it has secured tenants for Nos 86 and 88 Dulwich Village but it will not confirm who they are or when they are likely to start trading - the prospective tenants’ solicitors are apparently responsible for the delays. In the Croxted Road/Park Hall Road shops in West Dulwich three of the units have unfortunately closed in the last three months - for different reasons. The Estate assure us that they also have interest there, including a potential restaurant for the former Lloyds Bank but, in the current retail environment, it is a tenant’s market, and it seems that potential occupiers are in no rush to move forward - no doubt pending negotiation on rental levels. In retrospect, the substantial increases that the Estate secured last year in the Village may not have been such a good idea.
Another pressing problem locally - that may now have been resolved, was the large amount of credit card fraud in Dulwich over the last 9 months - over 100 cases at the last count. The good news is that a worker in the Alleyn Park sorting office has been arrested - but it took a lot of effort on the part of two concerned and dedicated Dulwich Society members, to make the Police and Royal Mail appreciate what was happening. The Society helped in publicising what was going on and local MP Helen Hayes was active in putting pressure on Royal Mail.
Members will have noticed that the Society has been more vigorous on local licensing issues over the last few months and that we also objected to both the planned music festivals in Brockwell Park and Peckham Rye Park - where Lambeth and Southwark councils had failed to consult as widely as they should have on events that would have a major impact on both parks. Patsy Bramble, a solicitor, has now joined our Executive Committee, and she has enabled the Society to be far more proactive in this area. We have also welcomed Sir David Beamish as the new Chair of the Trees Committee.
As part of the recent Dulwich Festival, the Society’s local history group has installed some more information boards similar to the one on the Burial ground railings. They may be seen in College Road and include the Dulwich Windmill (it used to be where part of Dulwich College now stands), the Millpond, Pond Cottages, and the Tollgate.