Chairman’s Comment:

Beauberry House - proposed opening hours extension

In conjunction with several of Dulwich’s smaller residents’ associations, and many individual house owners, the Society has objected in the strongest possible terms to the current lessees of the Beauberry House Restaurant’s proposed application to extend their licensing hours.

The owners are seeking a 3 hour extension on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday, 1 hour on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 2 hours on Saturday. If granted, this would mean that the restaurant is open till 3:30 am every day except Saturday when it will close at 4:30am (on Sunday morning).

These hours are not those of a normal restaurant and it would appear that the lessee is proposing to operate a night club. The current use of the building is already causing considerable nuisance to surrounding residents and, by encouraging inappropriate types of entertainment through the night, the extension of licensing hours is likely to cause further public nuisance and impact on residents quiet enjoyment of their gardens.

The current lessees seem to take no notice of any restrictions on their existing operating licence, allowing customers to make noise outside, leaving windows open etc. The terms of their lease apparently require the operation of a ‘high class restaurant’ but their current method of operation is anything but.

Dulwich is a residential area. Although Beauberry House is situated in a park there are a large number of houses less than 100 metres away in College Gardens, and many more on the other side of the park, in Burbage and Turney Roads. There are no obstructions in between and the noise from the restaurant carries across to them.

These additional periods are unacceptable and this application should be refused in its entirety on the grounds of prevention of public nuisance and the ensuring of public safety by the prevention of potential crime and disorder. The Councillors on the committee should respond to the large number of objections (nearly 70 at the last count) and dismiss this application.

Ian McInnes

‘The Knowledge’

An organisation really can feel that it has arrived when it becomes an item in the legendary ‘The Knowledge’; the London taxi-drivers required encyclopaedic body of destinations, places of interest and information each candidate for the coveted Hackney Carriage license is required to instantly recall at what is termed ‘The Appearance’. The whereabouts of the Dulwich Society is noted on the fact sheet as being the Society’s notice board in front of Dulwich Hamlet School. This might soon change as it is anticipated that the notice board will be relocated to beneath the Post Office canopy further along the Village where it will be in close proximity to the Dulwich Village postal cart.

Dulwich Village’s historic Postal Cart is restored

Following three years of careful restoration by Society members Willis Walker and Graham Nash, paint analysis by Dr Ian Bristow and conservation advice by National Portrait Gallery restorer Sophie Plender, the Village’s original postal cart, found by the Society’s vice-chairman Kenneth Wolfe in an antique shop at Tower Bridge where it stood in their yard and rescued by the Dulwich Society has now been completed.

It is uncertain when the cart was first used in Dulwich Village, although the hamlet of Dulwich officially became Dulwich Village following the consecration of its parish church of St Barnabas in1893 and the lettering on the cart indicates a period following this date. These more hybrid type of postal carts were replaced by a standardised Royal Mail cart in 1915.

Surprisingly, Ian Bristow found the original body paint to be a blue-green colour and the nearest BS specification shade has been used. The lining out and lettering follows the original and is in scarlet and gold. The wheels are in scarlet lined with black and gold. The original roof cover was identified by the Victoria & Albert Museum and replaced with a similar material. Willis and Graham were later to discover that the original cover had the faded outlines of battens and were able to replicate these on the roof of the cart. The original interior shelving, drawers and ironmongery were incredibly all found intact when the cart was purchased. What has been its history in the near century after it left Dulwich Village, and why these features were allowed to survive is so far unknown.

From the late 19th century until the present Post Office was opened in the 1990’s, the Village’s post office was located on the opposite side of the road in what is now Question Air. It originally combined the services of a post office with that of G. Dean & Co Bakers and later with that of a wool shop.

The post cart will be displayed on a raised stand in the window of the post office from 1st November, on which day the figure of the poor boy, wrenched from the statue of Edward Alleyn, will be replaced and fitted with very secure bolts designed for the Society by David Roberts.

Crystal Palace Park Masterplan Application

Bromley Council continues with the mammoth task of reviewing the voluminous contents of the London Development Agency’s application for outline planning permission for regeneration of Crystal Palace Park, based on the Master Plan produced by Latz and Partners, a firm of landscape architects with a good track record.

Bromley’s Planning Committee is expected to make its decision at a meeting to take place on 22 October 2008. There is likely to be a pre-meeting about a week earlier to address mainly procedural issues.

Though the statutory period for making representations on the application has long since expired, Bromley Planning have for a long time taken the position that they will receive representations from interested parties right up to the date of the hearing of the application. The Dulwich Society’s Executive Committee decided to make short representations supporting the general aims of the proposals, particularly the “greening” of the centre of the park with the removal of much of the obtrusive buildings, structures and car parks associated with the National Sports Centre. Strong reservations were however expressed about the proposals to construct housing on the Rockhills site at the top of Westwood Hill. It is understood that other local amenity societies with aims similar to ours, such as the Sydenham Society and the Norwood Society, have made similar representations.

The following a letter has sent by the Dulwich Society to Bromley Council.

Planning Department
London Borough of Bromley
Civic Centre
Stockwell Close,
Bromley BR1 3UH

Dear Sirs

Crystal Palace Park Masterplan Application – Ref: 07/03897/OUT

The Dulwich Society is an amenity society registered with the Civic Trust and has a membership comprising over 1,100 households. Although Crystal Palace Park is not within Dulwich, our area extends to the west side of Crystal Palace Parade, and we have many members for whom Crystal Palace Park is their nearest public park.

In general the Dulwich Society welcomes the London Development Agency’s proposals for the Park as set out in the Masterplan, and which form the basis of their application for planning consent. The Park has been allowed to become very run-down and is in need of substantial investment to regenerate it. In particular we welcome the restoration of the terraces and the “greening” of the central park of the Park with the removal of the Lodge and high-rise accommodation block, the ugly raised concrete walkways beside the National Sports Centre, and much of the present obtrusive car parking and fencing.

We are concerned about the additional traffic that a development of the size proposed will generate close to the busy junction of Crystal Palace Parade, Sydenham Hill and Westwood Hill but, more importantly, we have very strong reservations about the proposed housing. We do not believe that the inclusion of housing in currently designated open space, the Rockhills site which is Metropolitan Open Land, is an appropriate way to generate funding for a section of the proposed improvements. It is likely that the money raised in this way is small in relation to the total investment required and the LDA should be able to provide the appropriate funding without recourse to commercial development and the consequent loss of part of the park.

Red Post Hill Bridge

The re-construction of the bridge has taken longer than planned, largely because of re-routing telecommunications and other services. The bridge is now likely to be re-opened in the early autumn.

The Dulwich Society, in conjunction with the Red Post Hill Residents Association, has held extensive discussions with Village Ward Councillors and the Council officials about the layout and appearance of the traffic and pedestrian parts of the bridge.

The new bridge structure is designed for and capable of taking vehicles of up to 44 tons, which is far heavier than previously permitted. To prevent a regular flow of larger heavy lorries from using the bridge Councillors have suggested a weight restriction of seven and a half tons should be imposed on environmental grounds. The Society fully supports this and we hope that the necessary Traffic Order will be in place before the bridge is re-opened.

The bridge is in a Conservation Area and North Dulwich Station is a listed structure. The Society has put forward a plan for narrower North/South carriageways with a wider central strip including a low brick planter and low evergreen hedging with strips of granite sets on both sides. The height of the hedging is to be maintained at a low level so that on leaving the station you can look across to see the decorative panels on the rebuilt parapet.

The Society's Executive Committee strongly feels that this planting in the central strip will enhance this northern "gateway to Dulwich" and its listed structures. Therefore, the Committee has made an offer to Southwark Council to take on the responsibility for the maintenance of the hedging such as watering in prolonged dry weather and clipping.

The Council will shortly be taking final decisions on the design of the bridge including the central strip.

Greenery is a characteristic of Dulwich. It is hoped that the proposal to extend a ribbon of greenery across the bridge will be incorporated in the final scheme.

David Roberts, Chair of the Society’s Planning and Architecture Committee
Alastair Hanton, Chair of the Society’s Traffic and Transport Committee

Sunray Gardens

Southwark Council is proposing to make Sunray Gardens a Conservation Area – not before time some might say. A preliminary report has been through the Dulwich Community Council but no date has yet been agreed when it will come into force. The Sunray Estate already has an Article 4 Direction on it, dating from 1987 (this means that residents have no Permitted Development Rights and most alterations require planning approval), though looking at the number of properties that have had their windows changed, Southwark have not enforced it particularly well.

The existing Dulwich Village conservation area to the south was extended up to North Dulwich Station, and the railway line either side, several years ago. The current proposal for Sunray Gardens appears to exclude the North Dulwich Triangle which is odd, as this small area contains a good range of substantially original good quality late Victorian and Edwardian Housing, and it would surely be logical to join up with the Dulwich Village Conservation Area boundary, only 400 metres away.

Sunray Gardens occupies the site of Casino House, a large house designed by John Nash in 1797 for Richard Shaw, a very successful lawyer. The gardens were laid out by Humphrey Repton and the fish pond now forms the lake in Sunray Gardens. The house was demolished in 1906.

The Sunray Estate is often described as the most celebrated product of Lloyd George’s post WW1 ‘Homes Fit for Heroes’ campaign. However, it did not start that way. The original proposal was put forward by the Dulwich Estate as their own contribution to re-housing the returning soldiers. Architect Edwin Hall, a local resident and Estate Governor, designed the original scheme on garden city principles with some very innovative features – including a public hall, tennis courts and a Montessori nursery.

The Estate proposed to raise the money by setting up a ‘Public Utility Society’ (or Building Society as we would know it today) but this proved very difficult. Construction costs had risen 100% between 1914 and 1918 and the sums of money involved were just too much for them to raise. At the same time the Borough of Camberwell were seeking to expand working-class housing in the Borough and had access to money under the 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act. Late in 1919 they wrote to the Governors threatening compulsory purchase. The Governors tried to stop it by appealing to the Ministry of Health (then in charge of housing) but, at a meeting on 20th January 1920, the manager reported that ‘Mr Gibbon, of the Ministry of Health, informed Mr Barry and myself at the interview, that it is proposed that the Borough of Camberwell, in conjunction with H M Office of Works, should take over this land, as it is considered they could develop it more expeditiously than the Public Utility Society.’

The Estate had no choice but to agree. As a quid pro quo Camberwell agreed to adopt Edwin Hall’s road layout, albeit with smaller houses, and the scheme was carried out in the next two years by the Office of Works under its chief architect, Sir Frank Baines.

Ian McInnes

An expensive year

The Dulwich Society’s finances have been taking a hammering recently. In addition to the £2500 awarded to the Friends of Dulwich Park for new reed beds for the lake and additional planting reported in the last issue, a grant of £1000 was made to Dulwich Hamlet School to part fund a literacy project. The costs of purchasing, restoring and the later installing of the postal cart are likely to approach £2500. The repair to the Edward Alleyn statue is estimated at £7000, although some of this sum will be recovered by insurance. An improved and updated Society website is to be created at a cost of £500.

Gardens Open For Charity 2009

The Dulwich Society Garden Group is planning a new project. In recent years a large number of local gardens have been opened to Dulwich residents to raise funds for charity. These include over 30 local gardens listed in ‘The Yellow Book’, those visited by ‘the Garden Safari’ and openings for St Christopher’s and a range of other charities.

The Garden Group plans to produce an annual publication listing all these gardens and their opening dates and times (subject to our receiving the necessary information from the garden owners). There will be no charge for entries or for copies of the publication. It is planned that 4000 copies will be distributed through the spring issue of the Newsletter, garden centres, libraries and shops.

In future, the Garden Group will arrange fewer openings. When the Group first started, nearly 30 years ago, we were the only organisation in the area arranging garden openings. Now that there are many such openings, there is less need for us to make these arrangements. Hopefully, this new publication will provide a service to Society members and the local community by providing a central focus for information on local garden openings.

If you would like to have your garden included or if you require further information, please contact John Ward – telephone 020 7274 5172 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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