DULWICH SOCIETY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - 30 April 2018
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS for the year 2017
Executive Committee: I am sure all members appreciate the amount of work done by our Executive Committee, and the Chairs, and members, of our sub-committees. They continue to do their best to maintain the area’s unique ambience.
Journal: The Society’s Journal, edited by Brian Green, continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership and around 85% of the copies are still distributed by hand - for which I also thank the zone coordinators and the many volunteer members who put the Journal through your letter boxes.
Donations: Since late 2016, the Society has awarded over £14,000 from its funds to local projects including the London Wildlife Trust (for Sydenham Hill wood), the Dulwich Park Friends, Wheels for Wellbeing (based at the Velodrome), Safe Routes to School, Horniman Museum new Wall of Voices (which is visited by many Dulwich school groups), Goose Green School green wall, information signs, record digitisation and Park tree plaques. We also contributed half the cost for repairing the Bonar Law plaque in the St Barnabas Village Hall and paid the full cost of fitting a new interactive white board there - £450. In addition, the Society has been successful in submitting project ideas for using Southwark Cleaner, Safer, Greener funds to enhance the Dulwich environment and improve local safety.
The Society is keen to help out where it can. If you have any ideas for projects that are in line with the Society’s objectives, please contact the Society Chairman to discuss your idea.
Dulwich Estate: The Dulwich Estate has a new CEO, Simone Crofton, who comes to Dulwich from a very successful period at Borough Market. At the Society’s first formal meeting with her, she stressed the importance of improving communications with local residents and making the Estate office pro-active and approachable. Recently, the Estate also confirmed that they will not be appealing against Southwark Council’s rejection of its planning application to build new almshouses on Half Moon Lane.
Pubs: The Half Moon and the Crown and Greyhound re-opened in the spring and summer last year. It is good to have these two pubs back trading but, regrettably, there has been no progress on the Grove Tavern on Dulwich Common. The Society held a public meeting in December to kick start the discussion on its future but although most people wanted the pub to re-open, the reality of that happening is very unlikely. The Dulwich Estate and Southwark Council need to agree how to move forward.
Village shops: the most frequent complaint from residents is the lack of decent shops in Dulwich Village, and this has been exacerbated by the closure of Shepherds and, most recently, McColls. The Estate’s policy on shops was at the top of the agenda at the Society’s first formal meeting with the new Estate CEO - we pressed her for a ‘vision for Dulwich’ which would allow for the type of shops residents want and need.
Roadworks: The Dulwich Village junction works proved to be very controversial causing considerable disquiet to our members, local residents, schools and traders. Whatever your views on the need or otherwise for it, the works reduced foot fall and revenue in the Village shops by 50% over the Christmas period. It is now complete and hopefully footfall will return. One positive outcome is that it has encouraged the traders to set up a proper lobbying organisation and they have recently obtained Council funding to hold some business building events in the Village.
In the southern part of Dulwich, the double Dutch roundabout works are continuing. The impact of temporary restrictions on traffic flow is severe with long tail backs on Sydenham Hill and, occasionally, all the way from Crystal Palace Parade down to the Paxton Green roundabout. Hopefully the work will be finished soon.
Council CGS funding: The Society has secured further Council CGS finding for the repair and enhancement of the historic posts and chains, the replacement of the flagpole in the St Peter’s War Memorial on Lordship Lane, the provision of information signage next to the stretcher railings in East Dulwich, and additional street trees.
New Local Ward Boundaries: The revised ward boundaries have now been agreed and will come in after the May local elections. The Dulwich area will be divided into four wards, Dulwich Hill, Dulwich Wood, East Dulwich and Village. Only East Dulwich will retain three councillors, the other three will now have two.
Local Neighbourhood Police changes: After being rumoured for some time it has now been confirmed that local policing will be changing. 12 Basic Command Units (BCUs) will replace the Met's current 32 borough model. The aim will be to share people, buildings and resources across borough boundaries - in our case, with effect from September, police in Southwark and Lambeth will work as one BCU, led by a chief superintendent who will be the BCU Commander. The plan is to retain 2 dedicated Ward Officers and one PCSO in each Ward, even after the new Ward boundaries come into effect after the local elections on May 3rd.
Crime: There are now over 100 reported thefts of credit/bank/store cards in the Dulwich area and Local MP, Helen Hayes, has taken the matter up with Royal Mail. Burglary remains the major crime in all three wards - jewellery and money appeared to be the prime targets. The police are doing their best with the resources they have.
Ian McInnes, Chairman
HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT:
Rosebery Lodge: Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park leased by the Dulwich Society (until 2019) continues to be well utilised as a meeting place for at least ten Dulwich University of the Third Age (U3A) groups, the Dulwich Vegetable Garden and for Society archive storage and exhibition space. This past year have seen a new set of users, the local police, move in to Rosebery and Village Ward contact sessions with the public are hosted there on a regular basis (details are published in our e-newsletter and Twitter feed).
Society Records: A key activity for the Society is to digitise and catalogue as many of its records and other local materials as possible so the material can be searched and reach a wider audience. Not only does this make answering heritage and family history questions easier but it also offers valuable resources for research and school projects and helps the local history libraries. The answers to many Dulwich questions can be found by searching the Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com
Requests for Information: There is a steady flow of family history and heritage enquiries to the Society as well as requests from people wanting to track down old school and family friends. The WWII bomb plaques continue to generate interest. Historic England has sought advice from the Society on listing local war memorials, and three have been listed.
Public engagement and consultations: The Society has continued to be very active in the promotion of public engagement and 2017 was a busy year for consultations including the New Southwark Plan, the Dulwich Traffic Management Study, the plans for the school coach re-routing, and Quietways (in both Southwark and Lambeth) as well planning applications such as new housing developments and sports club developments. Latterly members have been concerned about local authority proposals to mount large commercial events in public parks, and this is already occupying our wildlife, trees and licensing teams in early 2018.
East Dulwich: The Society expanded its reach in 2017 with taking on the functions of The East Dulwich Society which was dissolved in line with its constitution and whose remaining funds were awarded to the Dulwich Society. In consequence, we have turned our attention to East Dulwich issues, and have commented on developments at the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and events in Peckham Rye Park which impact East Dulwich members. We have used the East Dulwich Society funds to make a grant to the Goose Green Primary School to construct a green anti-pollution screen along their boundary with Grove Vale which seems to have been well received.
Working with community groups: The Society works closely with a wide range of stakeholders across Dulwich including residents’ associations, the Dulwich Estate, Dulwich Picture Gallery, amenity societies such as the Herne Hill Society, sporting venues such as the Herne Hill Velodrome, the emerging Dulwich Village Forum, local councillors, MP and council officers and the police (Safer Neighbourhood Panels). We are also represented on the Safe Routes to School - an effective local lobby group to improve our children’s safety. The Society is also represented on the Dulwich Events Partnership and on the S G Smith site residents’ liaison group - co-chaired by Helen Hayes MP and Cllr Jane Lyons.
Society Governance: In 2017 The Society started a review of its governance and compliance with charity rules and legislation. We have reviewed our financial procedures, trustees’ role, safeguarding and data protection policies. Our last annual report and accounts can be seen on the Charity Commission pages at Charity Commission Dulwich Society Home Page as well as our own web site. All governance updates are posted to the Society web site once approved by the Executive Committee.
Executive Committee: The Executive Committee met 6 times a year primarily at the St Barnabas Library with summer meetings at Rosebery Lodge.
Residents’ Advisory Group: The Society Chairman and Chair of Planning and Architecture together with representatives from Dulwich residents’ associations drawn from across the Dulwich Estate sit on the Estate Scheme of Management Advisory Group which meets three times a year to discuss matters relating to the SOM. The Society collates a list of concerns and issues ahead of the meetings for discussion with the Estate that arise from our members’ and residents’ concerns, and issues that the Society has identified across the Estate.
Events: Apart from the series of walks and talks given by the Chairman, Brian Green and other Executive members, the Society held two parties for over 200 members in the Dulwich Pavilion featuring talks by Ian McInnes, Brian Green and Daniel Greenwood of the London Wildlife Trust as well as musical entertainment from the Dulwich Cake Appreciation Society a cappella choir.
Sue Badman, Hon Secretary
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT
Membership remains at over 1160 households. Our membership for Dulwich represents approximately 20% of all households. We gained 67 new members and lost 45 during the year.
For the financial year 2016-2017 we claimed £2402.67 from HMRC for gift aid.
Just under 20% of our journals are delivered by post because either members live a considerable distance from Dulwich or we are unable to get local volunteers to deliver by hand. We would welcome volunteers, particularly in the East Dulwich area, who would be willing to help, on a quarterly basis, to deliver a small number of journals.
Diana McInnes, Membership Secretary
REPORT FROM THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP
Dulwich Estate License Applications: Each month members of the Planning and Architecture Group visit the Dulwich Estate Scheme of Management office in the refurbished Old Grammar School to inspect and comment on licence applications. 199 licence applications were commented on - compared with 212 in 2017. There is a steady stream of applications to increase the amount of accommodation within both large and small houses. In particular, single-storey rear extensions to create a combined kitchen dining and family area. Loft conversions with rear dormers and rooflights are regular applications year on year, as are garden sheds and garden rooms. At the front of houses owners apply for re-designing the hard landscaping of parking, soft landscaping and renewing boundary fencing. In the estates of the 1960’s onwards there is a regular replacement of softwood single glazed windows with uPVC frames and double-glazing.
Former SG Smith Workshop Site: During the year site investigation has been carried out, and a construction management plan has been in development, but there is no certainty as to when the site will finally see a construction start. There has also been a recent application to remove the social housing units on the site - planning ref: 18/AP/0508
Proposed New Almshouses in Half Moon Lane: This application was refused by Southwark Council on 29 September 2017. The principle reason given was safeguarding of the open space for Class D1 (for non-residential institutional uses) in connection with Judith Kerr School - they argued that it would be a more sustainable use of the site.
Old Dairy site, 13-19 Croxted Road, West Dulwich: The new doctor’s surgery is now open and the shops and flats over will be ready very shortly.
Herne Hill Velodrome: There was an official opening of the new pavilion in March 2017 and the premises continues its extensive use for a wide range of cycling activities.
Dulwich Hamlet Football Club: The planning appeal against the refusal of planning permission to develop the site has been withdrawn and there is currently no clarity as to the future of the football club.
No 1 Fountain Drive: Local developer ‘Lightbox’ has started work behind a large green hoarding.
Half Moon Pub and hotel: The pub, now run by Fullers, re- opened to the public in March. The high specification Astronaut themed bedrooms upstairs were much commented on.
Crown and Greyhound Pub and hotel: This Mitchells and Butler premises finally re-opened in mid-June.
Dulwich Picture Gallery Temporary Pavilion: The winning open-air entry by IF_DO architects was completed and ‘opened’ in June and removed in November for re-use by the Goose Green Primary School in their playground.
St Faith’s Vicarage: The new vicarage is now occupied and the site next door has been sold for housing development.
Alleyns School: The new building fronting the Townley Road. East Dulwich Grove junction, is now complete
JAGS: The new music/performance building will be fully operational from the Autumn term
Charter School East Dulwich: Work on the new school is well underway and construction on the new health centre should start shortly.
Ongoing & Upcoming Developments:
Grove Tavern on the corner of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane: The pub which has been closed for four years continues to be an eyesore at the gateway to Dulwich Common. A public meeting arranged by the Dulwich Society was held at the Streatham and Marlborough Cricket Club in November with a range of views expressed including a small majority in favour of keeping the building as a pub as it was - there was little enthusiasm for a residential development on the site.
Former S G Smith Showroom site: The Dulwich Estate and the Council are currently in discussion over the development potential of this site. It will retain a retail unit with additional flats over.
New houses in Boxall Road: Construction is due to start shortly on two new houses in Boxall Road and there is currently a further application for a third house to replace a garage.
New house in Burbage Road: The Dulwich Estate obtained planning consent for a new house on the site of a group of old garages.
New houses in Half Moon Lane: The small site at the end of Half Moon Lane by the railway had planning consent for a single ‘eco’ house two years ago. Last year the Council granted planning consent for three houses and there is a current application for six units on the site.
Dulwich College: The College is currently applying to move their car park from the gravel in front of the Barry buildings to a former unused area by the railway line accessible access from Alleyn Park.
David Lloyd Roberts, Chair
REPORT FROM THE TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT GROUP
Review of traffic in Dulwich: Due to local demand for a holistic review of traffic levels in Village Ward, College Ward and East Dulwich Ward, Southwark Council appointed Steer Davies Gleave to undertake this work. The purpose of the study is to use existing evidence to identify challenges related to traffic and access in the area; to engage the local community and stakeholders in identifying a series of opportunities for improvement; to assess the list of interventions and agree, via engagement, on three packages of interventions aimed for short, medium and long term implementation.
Dulwich differs from other parts of the Borough, in that the levels of traffic differ greatly at different times of the day, due not only to commuters passing through but also because we have an extremely large number of schools and many pupils are driven to school by parents. Therefore, any monitoring of traffic flow is irrelevant if it only shows an average flow of traffic over a continuous 24-hour period or over several days. In addition, as a result of the high volume of traffic the air quality in Dulwich is badly affected.
There has been considerable communication between Steer Davies and Gleave and local community groups and this is ongoing at the present time.
Car parking: Dulwich roads are congested, not only by traffic, but by parked cars. Controlled parking zones are extremely helpful to local residents, but they do have a knock-on effect, as has happened since the Council approved such a scheme in North Dulwich. The Committee believes that, subject to the wishes of local residents, there may be a case for extending the CPZ southwards in Dulwich. Southwark is presently working on a kerbside strategy to address the present situation in the Borough as a whole. However, the Dulwich Society has written to the Council pointing out that the problems experienced in Dulwich are different to the rest of the Borough where car ownership is generally low. The Council is still assessing the merits of the scheme and we await developments.
Cycle Quietway 7/Dulwich Village junction: Work at the junction was finally completed recently. There are concerns over its safety and Southwark has announced immediate monitoring of the junction, rather than one year after implementation. Preliminary discussions have taken place on a Peckham Rye West/Dulwich Village Quietway proposal and details of the scheme are awaited.
School coach service: The car park of the Grove Tavern has been identified, in principle, by the Dulwich Estate as a possible holding area for the school coaches, rather than the present arrangement where they are parked on local roads for long periods of time.
The Mayor’s transport strategy (mts): The main features are: changing the transport mix between cars, buses, walking and cycling; emphasis on clean air; changes in bus routes, with more in outer London; Vision Zero, for much safer roads; curbing freight deliveries, particularly to offices; possible changes to congestion charging; extending low emission zones; and densification of development to cope with a growing population.
East Dulwich Grove/Turney Road/Greendale junction: The Council has installed flexible “wands” to protect cyclists on the cycle lanes north and south of the junction.
Community road watch: Volunteers are being sought to monitor speeds on local roads.
Rail service: Services to and from local stations remain disruptive: on the Southeastern lines through Herne Hill, because of rail construction work at Victoria and Waterloo and track updates; and on the Southern lines through North and East Dulwich because of similar problems, aggravated by long-running staff disputes. We have kept a careful eye on the evolution of new timetables for trains through Herne Hill to be introduced from May 2018. These should result in a small net increase in capacity, though some of the services will terminate at Blackfriars.
The committee: The Committee meets approximately quarterly, with considerable activity between meetings.
Alastair Hanton, Chair
REPORT FROM THE LICENSING GROUP
The Licensing Act 2003 governs the licensing regime relating to alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment; Southwark Council notifies the Society of new licensing applications for premises in Dulwich - the term" premises" covers not only pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs and take-aways, but also open-air locations where events are being planned, such as Peckham Park. The Council will automatically grant a licence unless objections are raised that an application does not meet any of the 4 licensing objectives, which are to ensure; the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm.
Each month on average, the Society receives notice of one or two applications and submits objections or requests conditions to be imposed on the licence if it appears one or more of the licencing objectives may not be met and the amenity of some local residents is likely to be adversely affected.
Recently, the Society has faced the difficult task of the opposing licencing applications for a music festival for 2 days over the May Bank Holiday where a substantial area of Peckham Park is to be cordoned off and where the amenity of many local residents is likely to be affected. The Society submitted objections to the application, particularly on the grounds of public safety and public nuisance. it was highly unsatisfactory that the application was considered - and granted - by the licencing committee at a time when very few actual details were available of how the 4 licensing objectives will be met. A condition has been imposed on the licence that the dispersal policy be presented and approved by Southwark's Safety Advisory Group 6 weeks before the event and that the licensing officer must also approve the final policy. We will take part in the forthcoming stakeholders meetings to examine the plans for the event as they develop.
Patsy Bramble, chair
REPORT FROM THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
Over thirty local history enquiries were received in 2017 from visitors to the Society’s website. These included requests for information about an alleged astronomical observatory on St Peter’s Church, Lordship Lane, the Dulwich Pottery in Thurlow Park Road between the wars, the occupants of St Faith’s Vicarage, Dickens and Pickwick Cottage, inspirational women who lived in Dulwich, the Society’s plaque in Quorn Road commemorating the casualties of an air raid, one of whom was the enquirer’s aunt, the transformation of the Sunray Estate from social to private housing, the location of the house of Benjamin Attwood the original “secret millionaire” and its previous occupants and the location of the house in Dulwich where Elgar stayed in 1889-90. Research for these last two resulted in new articles for the Journal.
Members of the Local History Committee have contributed a number of local history articles on other subjects to the Journal and also compiled an extensive history of Bell House for its website. The walks and opening of the burial ground organised for the Dulwich Festival were well attended. Research was undertaken for information boards to be erected by the Millpond and Tollgate in 2018.
Bernard Nurse, Chair
REPORT FROM THE GARDEN GROUP
In March we produced our annual brochure “Dulwich Gardens open for charity”, compiled by Ann Rutherford, distributing copies to all members of the Society and an additional 4,000+ copies to relevant local outlets. The brochure gives details of some 40 local gardens that raise considerable sums for the National Gardens Scheme, St Christopher’s Hospice, Link Age Southwark and other national and local charities. Dulwich punches above its weight in London for the number of gardens that open for charity, a tribute to the generosity of all those involved.
In March we enjoyed a talk by Matt Keightley, a prize-winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for his “Help for Heroes” and “Help in Vulnerability” show gardens, on “The Chelsea Experience”. In June we arranged an enjoyable coach visit to the Oxford Botanic Gardens and nearby Waterperry for some 50 members of the Society, the talk and the visits being ably organised by Will Anderson.
Lastly, we organised two London visits - in June to see the 800 years old Inner Temple gardens, conducted by its Head Gardener Andrea Brusendorf, and in July to the Royal College of Physicians’ Medicinal Gardens, conducted by Prof Anthony Dayan, a Garden Fellow and Professor of Toxicology.
Our events, which are publicised in the Journal and eNewsletter, are open to all members of the Dulwich Society.
Jeremy Prescott, Chair
REPORT FROM THE TREES SUB-COMMITTEE
We continue to advise residents on their tree problems via the email helpline. These problems may be on selection of trees for planting, and their care, or on their relations with the Dulwich Estate and Southwark Council.
We are working on the mapping and labelling of the many interesting trees in Dulwich Park. We are cooperating with the Dulwich Park Friends on the placing of labels on the trees when spring comes, and positive identification is possible. We will write notes for the tree trails which we intend to produce when the labels are finally in place.
Long Meadow is another interesting habitat, and has recently been named: “A site of local importance for nature conservation” in the new Draft Southwark Plan. We arranged for three native black poplars to be planted there last year, to continue to enhance its ecological value. We also support the work of the Great North Wood Project.
With CGS funding, we planted 10 new trees, including two in Dulwich Library Garden, where we are hoping to plant more. We have also initiated investigations into the feasibility of extending the pavement outside the College Road park gates to include the redundant layby. We would then plant trees there. As this is going to be costly, the council have agreed to fund it.
Daniel Greenwood, the Warden of Sydenham Hill Wood, will repeat his oak tree walk in Dulwich Park this summer. He will tour the veteran Oak trees on 10 June at 4 - 6 pm. This is a free public event.
We are delighted to welcome our new Chair - Sir David Beamish, and look forward to the future, working with him.
David Beamish, chair
REPORT FROM THE WILDLIFE SUB COMMITTEE
We are very fortunate in Dulwich to be surrounded by many parks, green spaces, woods and large gardens. The Wildlife Group tries to ensure that these spaces are maintained to provide not only enjoyment for people but also to benefit local wildlife.
Dramatic insect decline is a real threat to wildlife in general and habitat loss is a major worry. It continues to affect many species, including birds, hedgehogs and bats. In our efforts to counteract these trends, we work closely with the Society’s Trees and Gardens Committees, as well as Southwark’s Ecology Officer, the Council’s Park Managers and the Friends Groups of all the local parks. Our interests overlap when it comes to trees, oaks in particular. The oak supports more species of wildlife than any other tree. Dulwich is rich in veteran oaks, some of which may have started life marking farm field boundaries, but which now find themselves in private gardens or public parks.
Birds are another focal point. Owing to environmental factors, some species which used to be common, such as house sparrows and our visiting house martins, are disappearing. Others are coming in in strength - and are not always welcome - such as parakeets. You may get a full picture via the interesting reports in the Journal by the Society’s wildlife recorder, Peter Roseveare.
Habitat loss and degradation is the biggest problem wildlife faces worldwide. Locally the Society is working with London Wildlife Trust on initiatives such as the Great North Wood project and regeneration specifically in core heritage sites such as Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods.
The good news is that hedgehogs now have the backing of a dedicated hedgehog protection officer for London, but pressure to develop green spaces continues. Even blocking up holes in your garden fence can have catastrophic effects on a hedgehog population unable to forage widely enough to find food or breed.
There is also a drive for local authorities to seek to put on large events in parks to generate income. These could seriously affect birds during the nesting season, as well as bats year-round. We intend to highlight these issues with the relevant authorities and to help avoid problems
Angela Wilkes, Chair.