With the fine weather this Spring and the requirement to ‘stay local’, few places match Dulwich as the place to be. When the local hospitality venues opened their outdoor spaces on 12th April the Village itself came into its own. Imaginative arbors sprang up, tubs of flowering plants appeared and masses of people from Dulwich and its environs clutched some moments of bliss that they would, in normal years, have enjoyed in far-flung destinations, but this time albeit, without the hassle of getting there.

There can be no doubt that the imposed restrictions on traffic through the area went a considerable way towards achieving this seeming nirvana. Children could scoot, adults could chat without being overly concerned about traffic dangers and ancient cyclists could wobble along roads with a degree of confidence.

Imaginative schemes like attractive benches appeared, such a change from a year ago when yellow and black tape festooned any seat with a warning to keep off.

Some aspects of Dulwich Village are changing, but of course they always have. Nevertheless, the streetscape of elegant houses, picturesque cottages, grass verges and trees remains, even enhanced by the lack of traffic. The popularity of staying local is likely to continue, especially if facilities or venues have improved. We hear that one large, and two smaller hospitality venues are to open at the north end of the Village.

Of course, all this comes at a cost. In addition to the inconvenience for residents living near areas of road restrictions that have delivered them into virtual cul de sacs, the real losers are those who reside in roads which the displaced traffic has been to diverted to. Not only is there hugely more traffic congestion but there are risks of high concentrations of toxic fumes. This of course is the crux of the problem. Indeed, the issue has great similarity with the kind of questions posed at old Civil Service examinations once a candidate has passed the initial interview. For example; -

  • Question: Would it be feasible to suggest that a solution could be to financially compensate those living on congested and polluted roads by reducing their council tax or even installing air-conditioning? Discuss
  • Question: If this course were adopted, would it be reasonable to increase the council tax on residents in areas not affected by pollution in order to maintain financial balance? Discuss
  • Question: Might it be reasonable to propose that polluting diesel powered delivery vans should be banned and the scrappage paid in compensation for getting lower emissions vehicles should come from a surcharge imposed on every home delivery? Discuss
  • Question: Will the public be prepared to accept major curbs on the use of private cars in order to avoid traffic clogged roads , air pollution and frustrated drivers becoming a lethal danger? Discuss.
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