Tough new parking restrictions proposed for College Road

The proposed scheme to calm traffic and enforce parking control by the Dulwich Estate was circulated to residents in the College Road area early in the summer for their comments. The reason such control is proposed is to help reduce the danger from speeding traffic, especially motor-cycles. The danger is exacerbated by parking of vehicles in the vicinity of Sydenham Hill railway station where the bend in the road is sharpest and the width of the road narrowest. Parking has also increased sharply since the introduction of the Congestion Charge.

The existing white painted 'No Parking' signs have not deterred motorists and the unsightly red and white painted bulks of timber have also failed. What the Estate suggests is fairly draconian - ' No parking at any time' signs, accompanied by double-yellow lines painted on the road, the scheme to be enforced by a private wheel-clamping company. In addition, to slow traffic down, road humps are to be introduced and two zebra-crossings; one connecting with Low Cross Wood Lane, the other across the road at Ducks Nursery School.

The Dulwich Estate says that other measures were considered such as speed cushions but these could be easily avoided by motor-cyclists. Speed cameras were rejected because the Estate would not be able to effectively pursue offending motorists.

The response to the consultation process was fairly strong with almost 30% of those canvassed writing or e-mailing the Estate. A large majority was in favour of the speed restrictions and a majority approved of the proposals to control parking (with some reservations). A common concern was that enforcing 'no parking' would drive commuters, using the railway station, to trespass by parking on the private estates and roadways off College Road. Some residents have requested that the non-restricted parking areas be controlled to prevent all-day parking.

Those against the proposals mourn the loss of the rural character of the road and dislike the "urbanisation of the environment" but the Estate says that it considers its main obligation is to guard public safety in view of the increasing volume of traffic. The truth is that car parking in the upper end of College Road in itself destroys much of the road's charm. Indeed, the new restrictions may have the effect of retrieving some of it.

The Estate will now discuss with its traffic consultants the proposals, in the light of the comments received and the Board is expected to approve the final scheme shortly, recognising that the parking situation will have to be kept under review.

All Saints' Church, West Dulwich: Reconstruction Begins.

After what is three and a half long years for the parishioners of All Saints following the major fire on 9 June 2000, the redevelopment of the church is at last underway. A contract in the sum of £5.9 million, mostly financed from insurance recovery, was entered into with Killby & Gayford as main contractor and the site was made available to them in February. The contractors are a long-established firm, based in Clapham.

The work is progressing well. Already the slab which formed the nave and the two aisles has been removed: the floors of the chancel and Lady Chapel are to remain in place. The piling outside the present west end of the building has been completed. The hole is huge; on one day alone 47 lorry-loads of spoil were removed. Paye Ltd., specialist sub-contractors in the field of brick and stonework restoration have also started work. They have by far the largest part of the sub- contract (worth some £650,000) and will be working their way around the building until next spring. Much of the necessary scaffolding is now in place and the tower crane will remain on-site until next March.

The programme of works will see the roof completed by February, the construction of the new west end by January and electrical and mechanical services by the end of this year. The internal finishes and external landscaping will take place between February and August. Those readers who would like to follow the progress of the reconstruction can access it on

New Fireworks Law welcomed

The new regulations governing the use of fireworks will come as a relief to most Dulwich residents. Usually in the autumn they have been subjected to regular earth-shattering explosions from displays held by wedding celebrations and by various clubs and PTA's. One of the noisiest displays however, took place in July on Founder's Day in the field next to the Dulwich College PE Centre at Pond Cottages. The display shook the windows of houses almost a mile away. The new law restricts the noise level of fireworks to 120 decibels and requires an 11pm firework curfew which will be lifted only on November 5, December 31, Diwali and the Chinese New Year when displays may continue until 2am. Failure to observe this new law will be an offence which carries fines of up to £5000 or six months imprisonment.

The Day That The Rains Came - Tuesday 27 April

It is not every day that a Dulwich mother gets a telephone call from an anxious daughter in Switzerland asking if she and Dulwich are alright as she had heard on the BBC World News that Dulwich had been flooded. Tuesday 27 April 2004 will be a day to remember. Or more accurately some 90 minutes of it. The rain started lightly at 5.30pm but within a few minutes had turned heavy, and after 30 minutes had become a deluge followed by torrents of hail the size or marbles which clogged both drains and gutters, stripped gardens of flowers and turned the landscape white.

Roads like Burbage Roads and Half Moon Lane became virtually impassable and the water built up to a considerable height under the railway bridge in Village Way where a fire engine became trapped by the rising water. Much of Dulwich Park's horse track washed out of the College Road gate to provide interesting sandbanks along Dulwich Village and neighbouring roads for months to come. Cellars at Herne Hill were flooded to a depth of 7 feet as water coursed down the old and forgotten Langbourne stream bed from Red Post Hill along Half Moon Lane to meet the main watercourse of the underground River Effra that was in full flood down Croxted Road before turning sharply east and north again to flood houses in Turney Road as in days of yore.

Schools closed, churches were water-logged, some unfortunate residents of Playfield Crescent had to move out of their flooded houses and ground floor rooms were awash in the Village and Court Lane. According to one local weather buff, 6'' of rain fell in the space of an hour and a half. Curiously, Dulwich was also the centre of another such storm, but fortunately of shorter duration, in July, when again large hailstones covered gardens in a white carpet.

No Waiting List for NADFAS

The Dulwich Decorative & Fine Arts Society commences its 2004/5 programme of lectures on Thursday October 14th (see 'What's On in Dulwich'). The programme comprises a diverse range of topics, from Egyptology and Theatrical costume design to the work of John Singer Sargent. All the lectures take place in the Sixth Form lecture hall at James Allen's Girls' School and coffee and biscuits are included in the price of admission. Although individual lectures can be attended (£7), it is obviously cheaper to become a member and enjoy the entire year's programme for a very modest £30. The Membership Secretary, Mrs Vanessa Sutcliffe (tel: 020 8670 5895) will be happy to answer any queries. Apart from the monthly lectures from October -July, the Committee arranges two study days and a number of visits for members.

50th Anniversary Walk

The Crystal Palace High Level Railway line closed fifty years ago, a victim of one of Dr. Beeching's cuts. Some of the trackbed through Dulwich Woods and Horniman Gardens remains and the opportunity is being taken to both commemorate the old line and at the same time launch an extension of the Green Chain Walk along part of the old line. Details of this extension were reported in the last issue of the Newsletter. The double event will take the form of a walk titled 'From the Nun's Head to Screaming Alice' on 19th September. Anyone can join in the five-mile walk which starts at Nunhead Station at 10.30am and will be led by Matthew Frith the vice-chair of the London Wildlife Trust. A lunch break will be taken at the Horniman Museum and the day will finish at the Crystal Palace at 4pm. For further information please call the London Wildlife Trust (tel: 020 8699 5698)

Dulwich Festival

As reported last autumn, Marguerite Weedy and Alison Loyd the organisers of the Dulwich Festival, who had been running the event since its inception in 1993 were looking for able people to take over the reigns. While much interest was expressed nothing concrete emerged in order that a Festival might be held this year. It is pleasing to say that two local women, Alpha Hopkins and Nina Jex, both with previous experience in art administration, have been appointed by The Dulwich Festival (a Registered Charity) to plan the Dulwich Festival 2005 Saturday 14th May - Saturday 21st May.

They would like to hear from anyone who is prepared to be involved in assisting in the organisation of this splendid local festival of art, music, drama, poetry and other events. They would also like to hear from groups or individuals who would like to be considered for an item in the Festival programme.

For further information please call the Dulwich Festival at: tel 020 8299 1011.

Disenfranchised Dulwich?

Southwark failed to have all the voter registers available when polling opened at the St. Barnabas Hall for the elections for London's Mayor in June. Effectively they were disenfranchising people who turned up when the Polling Station opened and could not return later in the day, says Ian McInness, Vice-Chairman of the Dulwich Society. It took over an hour for the remainder of the registers to be delivered. Other complaints have been made over the failure of the postal ballot in Dulwich, with voting papers failing to arrive.

Edward Alleyn in a double bill

The Dulwich Society Local History Group presents A Double Bill - "Discovering Edward Alleyn's Theatre" - a talk by Harvey Sheldon, archaeologist and director of the excavation of 'The Rose Theatre', Bankside, Edward Alleyn's and Philip Henslowe's playhouse - Followed by "Discovering Edward Alleyn the Actor" a talk by Jan Piggot, Archivist of Dulwich College, on Thursday 18th November at 7.30pm, The Old Library, Dulwich College. Refreshments. ( Admission free to Dulwich Society Members, £5 to non-members).

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