The early part of this year was taken up with consultation over council initiatives on traffic management, cycling and planning.
The year started positively with the Council responding rapidly to the large number of objections from local residents to the proposed banning of the right turn from Townley Road into East Dulwich Grove. The contentious scheme was withdrawn and council officers instructed to come up with an alternative solution.
On the draft Southwark cycling spine scheme, initial details showed a cycling route going through Dulwich Park – the Dulwich Park Friends were quick to point out the likely conflict between park users like joggers and dog walkers, and commuter cyclists. The park is also closed at night, and closes earlier in the winter – is the Council’s intention to keep it open and put street lights in?
The Council also appears keen to install a series of ‘Quietways’ - networks of bike routes for less confident cyclists using low-traffic back streets (the routes are apparently not just for current cyclists, but are for people who have always been put off cycling by the thought of sharing the road with high volumes of cars, vans, buses and lorries). Several local residential roads are included eg Turney Road & Eynella Road. You have to ask whether the officers coming up with these schemes have any idea of the amount of on-road parking in Dulwich, where are residents supposed to park if they cannot, or don’t want to park, on their front gardens?
A more positive consultation was the one on amending free parking in Dulwich Village to a one hour limit to improve accessibility for shoppers and stop commuter parking. Based on the beneficial impact to both shoppers and traders of the 30 min parking limit in Herne Hill, this plan should improve the availability of parking for short visits but may possibly push commuter parking onto surrounding roads.
The Council are also consulting on the new draft Southwark Plan. A serious lack of promotion (even local councillors were unaware of it) meant that the initial consultation meeting on 19 January was attended by only 8 people – hardly representative. We were told that a further, more detailed draft plan, will be consulted on in September and the aim is for the new development plan to come into effect in 2017. The initial consultation period runs to the 6 March and there is an interactive consultation map for interested parties to comment on proposed site allocations and even suggest any new sites – this will be operational till the early summer. See: www.southwark.gov.uk/newsouthwarkplan