The good news for many residents is that the Dulwich Village Conservation Area is to be extended. The bad news is that a whole area of North Dulwich is not included in the scheme and there are no definite plans to create one. The area is the North Dulwich Triangle, a neighbourhood of attractive Edwardian houses, built by the trustees of the Lett Estate to high specifications. This area, together with the adjoining Casino estate, a 'Garden Suburb' development by Camberwell Council after World War 1 and designated as an 'Area of Special Character' in 1982 has as its hub attractive Sunray Gardens, the remnant of Repton's garden design for Casino House, and the area also includes St Faith's church. The exclusion from protection of this part of Dulwich is particularly unfortunate in view of the Mayor of London's plans to extend the designated urban boundary.
Southwark Council is fighting the proposal from the Mayor of London to designate parts of Herne Hill, north and east Dulwich urban rather than suburban land in the Unitary Development Plan. Ken Livingstone is understood to have requested that London's urban area be extended as far south as Half Moon Lane. At present the southerly extent of urban land ends at the railway line at Denmark Hill. Such an extension would permit a much greater density of housing to be built. Interestingly, in mid- Victorian times, the railway, which is the present boundary, was also accepted as the extent of London's sprawl and nearby De Crespigny Park was expected to act as a bulwark against further encroachment. It was soon out-flanked by creeping development and property prices fell substantially in consequence. Without the safeguards that being within a Conservation Area brings, it may lead to history repeating itself.
The AGM of the Dulwich Society produced some interesting discussion on how members see the future of the area in which they live. Not all aspirations expressed are likely to be met and some may need to be scaled down to accommodate those with less firm views on matters like traffic and the environment. However it is clear that the Society does have considerable influence in decision making which affects all those who live in Dulwich. It is therefore essential that the views of what might rightly be termed 'the silent majority' are heard before decisions are made. As much information as possible (bearing in mind the time of going to press) is given in this Newsletter. The correct action for members, or indeed other residents, is to convey their views to the sub-committee chairmen.
It was also apparent at the meeting that some of those present were not familiar with the powers and constitution of the Dulwich Estate. Accordingly, we asked the Estate to provide us with this information and this is printed on page 31.