Burglariies: The chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio London at the end of January as a follow up to the Evening Standard article suggesting that the SE21 postcode experienced the highest number of insurance claims in the country for burglary. The local police crime statistics, which are discussed at the regular Safer Neighbourhood Panel meetings, do not show this and the Borough Commander was put under pressure to explain the discrepancy when he attended the Dulwich Community Council meeting on 27th January. He said he did not recognise the figures quoted but a series of critical questions from the floor, and a timely intervention from MP Helen Hayes, made it very clear to him that, whatever the figures, burglary was a serious concern locally, and that confidence in the police to deal with it was low. He assured the meeting that he did appreciate the situation and that additional resources had been provided to assist the local police teams. He added that the current SmartWater campaign would help as it should make any stolen items more easily recoverable but that, most importantly, all crime incidents should be reported. Other speakers noted the importance of Neighbourhood Watch and there were positive contributions about the police response to burglaries.
Half Moon Hotel: There was good news in the first week of the New Year when the Dulwich Estate confirmed that it had agreed to lease the pub to Fullers, and that it should re-open for business later this year. In the meantime the application to Southwark Council to register the pub as an Asset of Community Value was successful. Fullers have now submitted planning applications for the Half Moon refurbishment 16/AP/0167 and 16/AP/0168. The campaign to ensure a music venue is retained within the pub building continues.
Sainsbury’s Micro in Dulwich: The planning application for the new shopfront and signage was submitted to Southwark just before Christmas. The application refs were 15/AP/5020 & 15/AP/5021. Not everyone is in favour of the new arrival, though many are, and there was some concern over whether the proposed shopfront design, and particularly the colour of the lettering, was appropriate for a conservation area like Dulwich Village. The Ward Councillors have made sure that the application will be considered by the planning committee, and not just by officers, and the new shop is expected to be trading in the spring.
S G Smith retail unit: Many people have been wondering what will happen to the showroom now car sales have moved elsewhere. There have been various unsubstantiated rumours floating round that it might become a small Waitrose store but the lease remains with S G Smith, and the Dulwich Estate has advised the Society that it is not aware of any current proposals. The most likely outcome in the short term is that the building could be used as site offices for the contractor carrying out the development on the site behind. Longer term it could become another shop unit (or food store) or alternatively, it might be a good location for a new almshouse development. It is no secret that the existing historic almshouses are not fit for purpose with their high window sills and lack of disabled access. The Dulwich Estate has been considering alternative locations for some time and this end of the Village would be a good one for older people in terms of convenience for local services.
The Charter School East Dulwich (TCSED): Rather than opening in temporary accommodation on the Dulwich Community Hospital site the school has secured the temporary use of the former Lewisham and Southwark College campus on Southampton Way, SE5 for two years while the new buildings are constructed on East Dulwich Grove.
Quietways: There was some surprise at the January Community Council meeting when it was confirmed that the start of the consultation on Quietway 7 (running down Calton and Turney) had been delayed following the local stakeholder meeting on 21st January. Apparently Council officers had been instructed to consider the comments made before going any further. The consultation period should start in the middle of February and councillors gave assurances that the three public meetings scheduled would be retained. Meanwhile, in Lambeth, there were two events in early December to showcase the concept designs for Rosendale Road. Residents were invited to comment and, hopefully, the results will be published soon.
Dulwich Village Burial Ground: 2016 is the burial ground’s 400th anniversary. The Society has encouraged the Dulwich Estate to take a more positive attitude to its maintenance and the first signs of this are the removal of the bushes on the front corner to make the graves more visible.
Townley Road Junction Works: There is still no confirmation on the date when the new cycling facilities will be fully operational and Southwark has yet to respond to concerns raised in a recent safety audit.
Coaches: The recent traffic consultation highlighted concerns over the increase in the number of coaches ferrying children to and from the Foundation schools in the Village. As a result the schools and the Council have agreed to jointly sponsor a study of the current routes and the potential for their optimisations to reduce their impact on the local environment.