The long promised new Dulwich Estate website was finally launched on 10 July - www.dulwichestate.org.uk. It is a considerable improvement on its predecessor and provides much more information on the local area, including the shops and the Estate’s operations, and it includes its annual review and accounts. Although there is no map of the Estate, a surprising omission, it has to be welcomed, and it does seem to reflect the Estate’s promise of a more collaborative and responsive tone in its dealings with local ‘stakeholders’.
‘The Proud Sow’, an independent butcher, will open for trading in the Village at the end of August, which is good news, but we are still waiting for confirmation on the new convenience store or grocer that we have been promised will go in the former Shepherds unit - we have been told that it will also sell newspapers, an important feature given that we have not been able to buy one in the Village since November 2016. There is some positive news in In the Croxted Road/Park Hall Road shops in West Dulwich where the former pizza restaurant is under offer, as are three of the four units in the new development. There were also rumours about a restaurant operator taking the former Lloyds Bank but it has now pulled out - and the Estate will be carrying out a small-scale refurbishment on the bank block (which has flats upstairs) and will look for a different tenant.
Following the local elections in May we welcome a number of new councillors in Village Ward, Dulwich Hill & East Dulwich (or Goose Green as it is now) - and the Village Ward councillors have already been active over the impending closure of Barclays Bank in the Village. The Southwark Labour group’s manifesto set out a number of borough-wide promises but perhaps the ones most relevant to our area are a commitment to improving air quality by encouraging more sustainable transport and persuading parents to allow more children to walk and cycle to school (see the article on the plans for road closures at Bessemer Grange Primary). There are also commitments to improve the pedestrian crossing at the Lordship Lane/South Circular junction, to provide additional facilities on the Kingswood Estate, to open a new library in Grove Vale in East Dulwich, and to make sure Dulwich Hamlet football club can return to their ground on Denmark Hill.
The Society is still involved in the aftermath of the GALA event at Peckham Rye Park. We attended a review meeting which identified a number of concerns on the amount of consultation with local stakeholders, over and above the damage to the Park caused by bad weather as it was being taken down. The lack of consultation was illustrated yet again in the middle of July when Southwark Events permitted an outdoor children’s cinema to take place in Dulwich Park without any prior discussion with the Dulwich Park Friends or the Park Café. When questioned at the 17th July Dulwich Community Council meeting, they apologised for failing to implement their own guidelines but could not tell us why. It is now very clear that all our parks are coming under more pressure to earn money - Councillors say that income from park events pays for other free events in the area like the Christmas Cracker, but parks are not just places to hold events in, they are a community asset and what makes our area special. Their protection and enhancement should be one of the Council’s main priorities.