Report of the Public Meeting 14 March

The Society’s Public Meeting on the subject of traffic on 14 March was attended by over 100 people. Ian McInnes, chair, and Sue Badman from the Turney Road Residents Association, gave a brief powerpoint introduction on Southwark’s plans for the cycling spine and quietways and also noted how schemes outside the area eg. the projected closure of roads through Loughborough Junction, which was not consulted on, would clearly impact on traffic in Dulwich. Sue also gave a brief report on the meeting between the TRRA and Southwark officers to discuss the implications of the projected quietways for Turney Road.

It is clear the Mayor wishes to leave a legacy of his time in office and it appears that things are being pushed through rapidly before he leaves office in April 2016. The Mayor’s cycling czar has come up with a route layout based on existing cycling preferences and the council is apparently working with that - both the quietways and cycling spine are seen as a done deal. There was confusion as to what exactly were the differences between the two denominations

It was also clear that the meeting thought that the current level of public consultation and engagement needed to be improved considerably. Hopefully there is room for compromise and it was felt important that we as a community come up with constructive comments and alternatives, given the political will behind the cycling improvements. The general feeling was that council officers did not actually appreciate the existing traffic pressures in the area e.g. Turney Road or Dovercourt Road where two cars cannot pass with the existing layout - let alone if parking was restricted and cycle ways introduced.

The implications for disabled/less mobile residents’ access to their cars and homes was discussed, and the point was made that there is more dependency on cars in Dulwich because of poor public transport particularly E/W cross-Dulwich routes.

On school travel, the meeting’s view was that the independent schools were not helping to look for solutions. Several people felt that coaches should be banned from going as far as the schools and instead park elsewhere (e.g. Belair, Dulwich parks) and children then walked from there. The chair mentioned arrangements at Dulwich Prep where there was an agreement with the Alleyns Head Pub whereby children are dropped there and then walked over to the school. A Safe Routes to School representative agreed to take the issue of coach parking elsewhere in Dulwich back to the group and investigate further. There was also support for mandatory provision of on-site parking for teachers and visitors (possibly underground) and that any new school building should address this problem properly and not just assume that there would be adequate spare parking on surrounding roads.

On the benefits of controlled parking outside the shops in Dulwich Village - some were concerned that it could lead to more parking in residential roads as many of the parking places are used by either teachers or workers in the local shops. There was some discussion on CPZ creep and that, as more and more streets became CPZs, the more others had to follow. On options for the projected CPZ in the North Dulwich Triangle, it appeared likely that most spaces would be for residents only (for which an annual charge would be made) with a small number of spaces for limited parking with timed controls e.g. at lunchtime thus not allowing all day parking. A point was raised over parkers phoning in to pay for their midday parking. Councillors present confirmed that there was no evidence of this in other parking zones.

Double yellow lines on new dropped kerbs received very mixed reviews, as there was concern that you would no longer be able to allow visitors to your house to park across the entrance. Enforcement of the new 20mph limit on Southwark roads was also queried - the police had confirmed that there would be some - most likely in targeted roads depending on collision statistics. Speed cameras will also be recalibrated at some point.

In summary all agreed that the area needs a holistic transport solution across Dulwich taking into account the needs of all road and pavement users. It should also include public transport and take account of the proposed new school on the Dulwich Hospital site and other schools nearby in Lambeth. The meeting agreed that parking provision cannot continue to be reduced without an impact on residents and shop traders. There needs to be a radical overhaul of parking provision and a better public engagement process across the community on cycling and other transport plans.

Loss of trees, Horse Chestnuts outside 95 & 97 Dulwich Village
Edwardian postcards confirm that these two massive horse chestnuts have been here for at least 150 years, if not longer. The Dulwich Estate has been monitoring their condition for some time and a recent resistograph inspection by Southwark Council has confirmed that they are largely hollow, and, given their location in the centre of Dulwich Village, they pose a potential danger to passing pedestrians.

The Dulwich Estate applied to Southwark on 26th March for permission to remove the trees and replace them with two 5m high plane trees. Following consultation with residents who live nearby, the propose replacements are now going to be Copper Beeches as being more appropriate to the location.

Proposed Mobile Phone Mast

It is some years since Dulwich saw a planning application to install a new mobile phone mast. The Society supported a large number of local residents who objected to a proposed new installation on the corner of Village Way and Half Moon Lane, less than 100metres from the new Judith Kerr Free School. Southwark’s policy is quite clear, Para 335 of the Southwark Plan says that all telecommunications equipment should be sited as far as practically possible away from educational and community uses.

The Council refused the application but one wonders why it was even registered. Surely officers know what the Southwark Plan says or were they, and the applicant, all unaware that the former Sir James Black Laboratories was now a primary school?

CPZs are coming

Residents in the North Dulwich Triangle are to be consulted over a controlled parking zone on their roads. A well-attended public meeting earlier in the year showed a high level of interest as residents are being affected by new CPZs in nearby roads in Lambeth. There will be two public consultations at the Methodist Church Hall, Half Moon Lane on Thursday 4 June (6-9pm) and Saturday 6 June (2-5pm)

Retirements

Peter Lawson FRIBA, FCI.arb
As Peter steams towards his 100th decade, he stepped down at the April AGM as Vice President of the Dulwich Society. He is a founder member, attending the first committee meeting in 1964 which dealt with issues very familiar in Dulwich today - trees and parking. As a member of the planning sub-committee, his professional expertise as a chartered architect coupled with his knowledge of Dulwich has been of vital assistance for 50 years and which will continue to be made readily available.

Peter served as vice chairman for 25 years from 1968, and as acting chairman from 1968-70. He was elected vice president in 1989.

He had a distinguished career in practice, and a principal professional association with Michael Rosenauer designing the Time and Life Building at the corner of Bruton Street and New Bond Street (1952/53)

Patrick Spencer

Patrick retired as Hon Secretary at the AGM. He claims he was rather more defeated by modern technology (not helped by the computer failing after a power surge over Easter), than a recent bout of ill health. Patrick initially joined the executive committee in 1990 as local history representative but taking over as the Society’s secretary in 1994. In this capacity he has been supremely efficient in dealing with the huge amount of correspondence generated with the raising of the Edward Alleyn statue in the grounds of the Old College in 2005, and more recently with the installation of the 12 memorials dedicated to Dulwich civilians killed in WW2.

Report from Wildlife Committee

We have three important local Green Spaces which are all sites “of interest for nature conservation”, although not technically categorized as such. All three of them have been dramatically affected by works of one kind or another. Two of these precious areas are much-loved local parks: Dulwich and Belair parks. Another one is a big section of Metropolitan Open Land, noted for its iconic mature field boundary trees, upon which a new nursery school has appeared.

Accordingly, our group have been monitoring all the things that have been happening upon our green spaces - both visible and below ground or water level. We have been taking expert advice on how we can restore the ecological value of these areas, going beyond the merely cosmetic patch and tidy-up. We want to hear from you if you are concerned about specific green areas which need to be restored or maintained in a special way.

We have liaised closely with other local groups, such as the Dulwich Park Friends and the London Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Belair Park, as well as Southwark Council who are keen on Green initiatives.

The bird population seems to be very healthy in our area - but its profile is changing and we need to keep tabs on how and why some species are declining, or moving geographically, while others are coming in. We heartily recommend all the nature study walks and talks being run on site throughout the area by the London Wildlife Trust. These cover every aspect of our local flora and fauna throughout the year, from birds and butterflies, bats, beetles, trees, fungi and flowers - suitable for all ages, but bring stout shoes and, ideally, a set of binoculars. Members of our group are actively involved in these events.

If you would like to join our Dulwich Society wildlife group, or simply have a particular interest in the natural world which you would like to explore, please get in touch with us

Angela Wilkes Chair Wildlife Committee

Gardens and Gardening
Dulwich Gardens open for charity
Do make sure that you catch Dulwich’s increasingly renowned garden openings, now in full swing with openings on most June and July weekends as well as many other dates. Details of these are in the brochure distributed with the Spring Journal, which is also available on the Society’s website.

Further afield
Venturing further afield, Lambeth Palace Garden is opening on the first Wednesday each month until October, from 12 to 3pm - its London’s oldest continuously cultivated garden. Entrance is £4. Brand new is the SkyGarden, 35 floors up at 20 Fenchurch Street in the City and good for a cup of coffee with magnificent views. Free but entrance ticket required - see https://skygardentickets.com.
Great Dixter and Sissinghurst

Some 90 members of the Society attended an inspirational talk In March by Fergus Garrett, the Head Gardener of Great Dixter. Our annual coach outing, which is to Great Dixter and Sissinghurst Castle Gardens on Tuesday 23rd June, is now sold out.

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