Dulwich Society Reports for Annual General Meeting - Tuesday 14 September
Executive Committee Reports for the Year 2020

Please note that the AGM has now been put back until September in the expectation that we will then be able to meet in person and, hopefully, hold an event to mark the retirement of our President, Dr Colin Niven, after ten years’ service.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT:

Executive Committee: The Executive Committee met 6 times in 2020, online. The Executive awards funds to suitable local projects in line with the Society’s remit and objectives. There were fewer requests this past year as projects were put on hold or cancelled. Grants were made as follows:

  • Repairs to benches and white posts in Dulwich Village
  • Design of new sports mural at the Burbage Road rail bridge
  • Donations to two Food Banks in Southwark and West Norwood.
  • Donation to Sydenham Hill Woods.

If you have any ideas for projects that are in line with the Society’s objectives, please see https://www.dulwichsociety.com/local-projects for further information.

Dulwich Estate Residents’ Advisory Committee: The Society Chairman and Chair of Planning and Architecture together with representatives from Dulwich residents’ associations drawn from across the Dulwich Estate sat on the Estate Scheme of Management (SOM) Advisory Committee which met three times last year, online, to discuss matters relating to the SOM. The Society collated a list of issues ahead of the meetings for discussion arising from our members’ and residents’ concerns, and issues that the Society has identified across the Estate. In addition, the Chairman and Secretary met the Estate CEO and Director of Property on a regular basis at the Estate’s public surgeries to discuss members’ concerns on matters outside the SOM. Please notify This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have a matter that you would like the Society to raise with the Estate.

After a series of discussions between the Chairs of the Dulwich Estate Trustees and the Society, the Advisory Committee has been refreshed and will now comprise representatives in rotation to enable a wider group of representatives to attend the Committee. From the first meeting in March 2021, there will be two representatives from RAs in the north and south of the Estate, and two representatives from the Society’s Executive Committee.

Public engagement and consultations: The Society has continued to be active in the promotion of public engagement. Consultations on planning, traffic, public realm, event and premises licensing have continued during the Covid-19 emergency and the Society has reminded and encouraged residents to respond to all Council surveys and consultations affecting the Dulwich area.

Working with community groups: The Society continues to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders across Dulwich including residents’ associations, the Dulwich Estate, Dulwich Picture Gallery, amenity societies such as the Herne Hill Society, sporting venues, local councillors, MP and council officers and the police Safer Neighbourhood Panels. During 2020 this has been predominantly online.

Ian McInnes, Chairman

HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT:

COVID-19 Emergency: The Covid-19 emergency has affected Dulwich Society activities as we were no longer able to meet in person, but most committees and meetings with other groups have continued online via Zoom. The Society also started a series of monthly talks online in conjunction with Bell House.

Member communication: Circulating information to members, stakeholders and the wider community is vital; there is a constant need to cascade information rapidly across the area.   Apart from the popular monthly eNewsletter and quarterly Journal, the Society publishes news and updates on the Society website www.dulwichsociety.com The Society noticeboard by the Crown and Greyhound also displays information about the Society and forthcoming local events.

We publish stop press news on our main Twitter feed @dulwichsociety and local history news and photos on our local history feed @DulwichHistory, both of which have over 2,200 followers, so please follow us if you want to keep up to date with news and local history. Our Gardens feed @DulwichGarden has details of gardening and wildlife initiatives.

Our Instagram feed #dulwichsociety has 1000 followers and we post a range of Dulwich archive maps, information about our local businesses and typical Dulwich scenes. 

We distribute email notices of key events or consultations to Dulwich residents’ associations so if your RA is not on our list, please contact the Chairman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Increasingly, by tapping into the RA coordinators messages are rapidly distributed via road WhatsApp groups which have been useful during the Covid emergency.

Society Governance: Our last annual report and accounts can be seen on the Charity Commission pages at Charity Commission Dulwich Society Home Page as well as our own web site. We monitor our governance continually and all governance updates are posted to the Society web site once approved by the Executive Committee.

Requests for Information: The steady flow of family history and heritage enquiries to the Society continues as well as requests from people wanting information about specific houses and buildings in Dulwich. The WWII bomb plaques continue to generate interest. The answers to many Dulwich questions can be found by searching the Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com. We are grateful to all those who supply photographs and interesting tales of Dulwich life.

Sue Badman, Hon Secretary

 

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT:

Membership at the end of 2020 was 1146 households. Our membership for Dulwich represents approximately 20% of all households. We gained 40 new members and lost 60 during the year.

The number of members renewing using cash or cheque continues to fall and over 90% of our members now renew by standing order or direct bank payment. However, over 100 reminders were posted out to members this year asking them to renew or advise me that they no longer wished to keep their membership.

For the financial year 2019-2020 £2374.39 was claimed from HMRC for gift aid.

Approximately 20% of our journals are still delivered by post because either members live a considerable distance from Dulwich or we are unable to get local volunteers to deliver by hand. We still need volunteers, particularly in the East Dulwich area, who would be willing to help, on a quarterly basis, to deliver a small number of journals. If you are interested in helping, please contact me via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The eNewsletter is sent to almost 80% of our members on a monthly basis and is very well received, keeping members up to date on important issues affecting Dulwich (such as planning or traffic proposals from Southwark) but also lets people know about events and activities in the area which cannot be included in the quarterly journal. Members can request to be added to the circulation by emailing me at the above address.

Diana McInnes, Membership Secretary

March 2021

 

REPORT FROM THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP:

The number of Dulwich Estate License Applications remained almost exactly the same as the previous year, 160 in 2020 and 162 in 2019. These included an increased number of applications for garden rooms, presumably in response to the shift to working from home in the Covid pandemic.

Members of the group comprise both those with a professional background in Architecture and/or Planning and those with local knowledge, and some across all. Between three and five members attend a monthly meeting to review and comment on all license applications. Until March 2020 this took place in the Dulwich Estate offices. Since April 2020 applications have been reviewed online.

Comments on the individual aspects of an application are noted as ‘No objection’ or ‘Objection’, in which case a reason is given. These comments are advisory to the Scheme of Management. Objections are referred to the DE’s Consultant Architect, Madeleine Adams. Where possible, issues are resolved in discussions with the applicant and others. In the event of failure to reach an agreed solution, the matter is referred to the SoM Management Committee for a decision. The committee comprises DE trustees, the Chief Executive (Simone Crofton), the Director of Property (Adrian Brace), the Estate’s Consultant Architect, and SoM staff.

Developments:

  • Former SG Smith Workshop site/Gilkes Crescent: Works have not started on site and no further planning application has been made. McColloch’s have confirmed that the current planning proposal is no longer viable.
  • Grove Tavern on the corner of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane: This is the seventh year that the fly posted boarded up buildings sits at the gateway to Dulwich. There is no indication as yet of viable development plans being put forward to replace this derelict building.
  • 5G Masts Dulwich Wood Park & Dovercourt Road: Application for a 15m high 5G phone mast and associated cabinets to be located on the pavement on Dulwich Wood Park by Lymer Avenue was refused by the Council in November 2020. An appeal has been lodged, but no date is yet available. Subsequently, a further application for a 5G mast was made at Dovercourt Road near its junction with Court Lane – which was also refused. There has also been a pre-consultation about a mast on the corner of Townley Road and East Dulwich Grove.
  • Dulwich Hamlet Football Club ground redevelopment: The Mayor of London has agreed to the relocation of the stadium at Champion Hill onto Metropolitan Open Land and the council planning committee under Cllr Martin Seaton granted planning consent on 27 July 2020. The proposed scheme provides 213 residential units in a series of buildings 4 to 6 storeys high, a new stadium with a capacity of 4,000, and associated facilities. The application is still under consideration by Southwark.
  • 11 Fountain Drive: Planning permission for nine 2-bed flats was granted in June 2020.
  • Hillside, 9 Fountain Drive: Planning permission for six 4-bedroom flats was granted by Southwark, but the project is still listed as ‘in consultation’ on the Dulwich Estate website.
  • Land at the rear of Lyndenhurst, Village Way: The proposed backland development of two detached houses received planning permission in June 2020, despite a substantial number of objections. However, there is no provision other than the narrow gate in the listed boundary wall for direct access to the site for construction works - so it remains unclear how the houses can actually be constructed or serviced. A revised application has recently been made to the Scheme of Management and there have been 18 objections.
  • Alleyn’s Junior School Extension: Planning permission was granted in July 2020.
  • 96 Alleyn Road: Planning permission was granted for a replacement house in January 2020.
  • 57 Alleyn Road: Planning permission for the replacement of the existing house with 2 new dwellings was granted in April 2020. The scheme is still listed as ‘Awaiting Decision’ on the DE website.
  • 29 Eastlands Crescent: A revised scheme of less contemporary design was granted planning permission in October 2020 despite many objections. The DE turned down the new licence application in February 2021. A petition signed by all the residents in the road had previously been sent to the Estate objecting to the plan
  • 83 Alleyn Park: Following submission of revised plans, planning permission for three 3-bed, five 2-bed and one 1-bed flats was granted in March 2021.
  • 40 Court Lane: Planning permission for two pairs of semi-detached houses was granted in December 2020 and work has commenced on site.
  • 118 Burbage Road: Planning permission for a replacement house was granted in October 2020.
  • 99 Herne Hill: permission to convert the former osteopathic clinic to a nursery as part of Herne Hill School has been granted under a certificate of lawfulness. The nursery opened in March 2021.
  • Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club, Dulwich Common: application for demolition of existing cricket pavilion and small changing facility, and erection of new cricket pavilion and day nursery. The application was withdrawn and a new application is being prepared. There are concerns about encroachment on Metropolitan Open Land, traffic impact and hospitality use.
  • Herne Hill Velodrome: concerns were raised that the part time outdoor school had developed into a full-time nursery with attendant noise and access issues. Southwark have recently confirmed that planning permission or a certificate of lawfulness will be required.
  • Former Dulwich Community Hospital, East Dulwich Grove: demolition of the ward blocks to the west of the main block continues on site in preparation for the second phase of the Charter School East Dulwich.
  • Mais House, Sydenham Hill: proposals for redevelopment of the existing estate were approved by Lewisham. The Friends of Mais House have succeeded in obtaining a judicial review to campaign for a lower density scheme more appropriate to the Conservation Area location.

The revised Southwark Plan has been published and remains at consultation stage.

Penny Stern, Chair

 

REPORT FROM THE TRAVEL AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE:

The T&E Sub-Committee has continued its work to make Dulwich safer, greener, and healthier. The biggest recent developments in terms of transport have been Covid-19 and the consequent policy decisions by the UK Government (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-billion-package-to-create-new-era-for-cycling-and-walking), the Mayor of London (https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/streetspace-for-london) and Southwark (http://moderngov.southwark.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?AIId=57398) to promote healthy active travel, which has manifested itself across Dulwich in various forms of emergency traffic measures. The T&E Sub-Committee has sought to provide, as appropriate, support or constructive criticism on these. In particular, concerns regarding congestion on Croxted Road and the need for ensuring effective networks rather than isolated measures have been raised, but praise given for the increased number of children cycling and walking to school. Southwark have been pressed to hold a detailed public consultation on the emergency measures which will shortly be taking place, and the Society continues to remind all members to ensure they participate so their voices can be heard. More generally, the Sub-Committee has kept a close eye on developments around public transport (especially the consequences on buses and trains of Covid-19), air pollution, and helping the disabled.

Harry Winter, Chair

 

REPORT FROM THE LICENSING GROUP:

The Society receives regular notification from Southwark Council of premises licence applications relating to Dulwich Village and surrounding Wards. The number of such applications has inevitably decreased during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note that a number of new restaurants/wine bar operators   have applied for premises licences and the Society has made representations to Southwark Council on a number of these, including Megan’s Bistro (Dulwich Village), Peachey Goat (Herne Hill), and Peace & Riot (West Dulwich).

In addition the Society submitted a representation against, and attended the ‘virtual‘ hearing in respect of the application by the Festival Republic Group for a 3 year licence for two, three-day music festivals for a daily capacity of over 40,000 people in Crystal Palace Park , to take place ( Covid-19 restrictions permitting) commencing in July 2021. The licence was however granted but the   Society understands that the first event is now more likely to take place in September 2021.

Patsy Bramble, Chair

 

REPORT FROM THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP:

The local history Twitter account (@DulwichHistory) brings Dulwich’s local history to a wider audience. In March 2021 it had 2,157 followers, more than twice the number compared to last year, and regularly receives around 180,000 ‘impressions’ (an indication of the how effective tweets are) per month. It links to articles on the Society’s website, helping to drive traffic there, it publicises Society events and it receives a lot of enquiries. A recent tweet about the Burbage Rd blue plaque for Sam Mussabini had a high level of engagement. A ‘then and now’ image of an East Dulwich dairy prompted comments about how it looks now and led to the residents themselves posting photos of the interior.

All group walks, talks and exhibitions planned after March were cancelled due to Covid, and the listening post project for the Edward Alleyn statue has been deferred. However, members have given several talks online and a series of monthly Zoom talks from January has been posted through Bell House with an encouraging number of participants of between 100 and 170. Subjects have included the areas around Court Lane and Woodwarde Roads, Dulwich Radicals and the Friern Manor Estate. Over £500 was raised for local charities from each talk.

During the period of restrictions on travelling outside the area, a few members of the Dulwich Society have been using the opportunity to trace old Dulwich Manor and Camberwell parish boundary markers, most of which are about 150 years old, with a few stone ones dating back even further. Research on local history has continued to be published in the Journal on a variety of subjects, including articles on VE day, lost houses, MPs and other local inhabitants

Bernard Nurse, Chair

 

REPORT FROM THE GARDEN GROUP:

2020 was dominated by Covid. In March we produced our annual brochure “Dulwich Gardens open for charity”, compiled by Ann Rutherford, with copies going to all members of the Society – but we were unable to distribute more than a few of the remaining c4,000 copies to local garden centres etc. before the first “lockdown”. With this and the impact of the pandemic we felt that we could not in good faith collect the advertising income that partly funds the brochure, so that the Society bore the full printing costs this year.

Lockdown in May and June also meant that most of the 40+ local gardens did not open, although a few did in late June and in the autumn, and there were some “virtual” openings and a well-organised and successful plant sale at 103 & 105 Dulwich Village in aid of St Christopher’s Hospice. We publicised all these on social media, as well as making well-received Tweets at the start of lockdown to support local garden centres (one was seen by 8,000 people, with 40 likes and 25 retweets). Because of Covid, we also cancelled our annual coach trip and Spring garden talk.

Where we can, we try to encourage gardening in the area. In April we introduced the Lambeth Horticultural Society, which had excess stocks (sprouting seed potatoes and onions, seeds and compost) that its members could not access, to the Grange Lane and Gun site Allotments, whose members could not readily access garden centres – they took the lot. We also helped arrange the repaving of the area in front of St Barnabas Parish Hall with York stone, which has improved the usefulness and look of this much-used area in Dulwich Village – this was funded by a Southwark Council Cleaner, Greener, Safer grant, a grant from the Dulwich Society and by a group of local residents. The planting has also been improved.

Jeremy Prescott, Chair

 

REPORT FROM THE TREES SUB-COMMITTEE:

The Tree Committee met in January 2020 but has been unable to do so subsequently owing to restrictions arising from the pandemic. Nevertheless, the Committee continues to promote the planting, maintenance and enjoyment of trees in Dulwich. An article on a tree-related topic was again published in each issue of the Society’s Journal, including an updating of the Silver Jubilee Tree Walk (mainly on College Road) originally produced in 1977. It was not possible to hold a tree walk in 2020 but in September the chair gave an illustrated online talk for the Society on the trees of Dulwich.

The talk brought to light that the brass plaque unveiled in 2017 next to a honey locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos) in the garden of Dulwich Picture Gallery commemorating Stella Benwell, chair of the Tree Committee from 1985 to 2008, was already looking shabby. It has been replaced by a stainless-steel plaque with a similar design.

Southwark Council’s “Cleaner Greener Safer” (CGS) funding for 2020–21 supported the planting of hedging in the Dulwich Library garden, which was planted in January 2021.

The Committee continued to follow closely the campaign to save two oak trees near the Cox’s Walk footbridge (from which Camille Pissarro painted his well-known view of the former Lordship Lane railway station), threatened with removal because of concerns about the safety of the footbridge. At the time of writing the trees are still standing, having been made subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

Rachel Dowse, manager of Sydenham Hill Wood since 2018, left the London Wildlife Trust and has been succeeded by Samuel Taylor, who has joined the Committee in her place.

We continue to be available to advise residents on their tree problems via the email helpline This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

David Beamish, Chair

 

REPORT FROM THE WILDLIFE SUB COMMITTEE:

What with lockdowns, social distancing, bubbles, shielding and scheduling of tests and vaccines, let alone delayed clinical appointments, it’s no surprise that our Wildlife Group have not had any “official” meetings over the past Pandemic dominated year. But, although we may have been locked down, and unable to monitor and report sightings as per usual, Nature has been carrying on as normal, freewheeling that Circle of Life - a la Disney’s Lion King song. It’s true and sad that extra heavy human footfall in wildlife havens, littering and unseasonal and extreme weather fluctuations in past months have been damaging, but life is bouncing back in our corner of south-east London at a pace.

New life is evident in the smallest, everyday detail. If you go down to the woods today (Sydenham Hill and Dulwich Woods, one sunny day in April), and look closely at the ground beneath you, you will find it humming with low-key daily miracles. Tread carefully and you may spot a tiny tawny hairy insect emerging from a hole in the soil. This could be one of the Solitary mining bees which are becoming active now, emerging from their underground nursery into the daylight for the first time in a year. There are an incredible 227 species of solitary bees (those which do not live n organised colonies like honey bees and bumble bees) out of which 65 are species of Mining bee. Similar in colour and shape to honey bees, each bee will have started life as a tiny fertilised egg, laid by a female bee, in a vertical tunnel a few inches deep in the earth. Each egg will have been sealed into its own individual chamber, waterproofed by a secretion from the mother bee’s abdomen, within the nursery. Each compartment will have been stocked with a ball of pollen and nectar gathered from early Spring flowers. This is food to sustain the developing egg while it hatches into a larva, then an adult bee. Although it will have matured into an adult in autumn, the bee stays below decks until Spring, when it digs itself out – and the whole cycle repeats itself. Females start excavating tunnels in early Spring, and once she has mated, she may lay eggs in several nests in hollow stems, decaying tree stumps or mortar. London Wildlife Trust, who manage the Sydenham Hill Woods nature reserve, have published photos of two different species, a Clark’s and a Tawny Solitary mining bee in their newsletter.

The Society’s Wildlife Recorder, Dr Peter Roseveare, whose Zoom talk was so much appreciated last year, (70 members tuned in) reports that the high number of records, photos and questions he has received suggest that more people than ever are taking notice of the wildlife around them. He is optimistic that our local numbers and range of species across the spectrum of birds, mammals, amphibian, bat and plant life remain healthy, albeit fluctuating as normal and that the greatest threat is still climate change.

Angela Wilkes, Chair

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