First the good news - Beauberry House Restaurant withdrew its application for extended licensing hours after over 70 residents and residents’ associations wrote to the Council objecting. This clearly demonstrates that a strong co-ordinated response can have a positive impact. Active liaison between the Dulwich Society and the affected residents’ associations meant that a large number of people turned up to the public meeting - unfortunately this was then cancelled because of the Council’s concern over the validity of some of the objections - though it was subsequently confirmed that they were all valid.
It is clear that once Beauberry House realised the real level of local concern, they saw that their only option was to withdraw. However, it is also up to all the relevant local groups to follow this victory up and make sure the Beauberry House keep strictly to the provisions of their current licence, which some have argued, are already too generous. It is essential that any unacceptable activities or noise should be reported to Southwark.
There is also a wider point here, local businesses rightly expect support from local residents but it is also necessary for them to make sure that their activities do not unnecessarily impact negatively on people’s daily lives.
There are several current examples where local businesses are taking things for granted. One is the red vans that are parked in Croxted Road, Dulwich Village and elsewhere, advertising cheap removals. Not only are they an eyesore, they also take up valuable parking spaces that should be available to residents.
A similar situation has arisen at the end of Burbage Road where, for some reason, Wates Estate Agency has recently started parking all their corporate Volkswagen cars - some local residents have described it, tongue in cheek, as a ‘beetle infestation’. While the cars are clearly entitled to be parked on the public road, doing so in such large numbers, and in such a prominent place, suggests a lack of appreciation of the negative impact that it has on the local environment.
Another local business that needs to review its operations is S G Smith, the Audi garage in the Village. Residents in Gilkes Crescent have been complaining for some time that the company parks cars waiting for service in their road - this is not acceptable. If there is insufficient area on their site, perhaps the company should consider whether they are in the right location.
Many residents consider that this site, in the centre of the Village, might be better used for something else - perhaps a larger food store, and it would of course make a perfect location for sheltered/warden controlled housing for older residents - something which Dulwich has very little of.