The Society responded to the recent consultation over the redrawing of local parliamentary boundaries. In the draft plans the current Dulwich and West Norwood Constituency would disappear. While the Society accepts that some changes need to be made to make sure that all constituencies have roughly the same numbers of voters, it does not support the current radical plans to change the constituency boundaries of the current Dulwich and West Norwood constituency and put large areas of Dulwich into a Dulwich and Sydenham constituency. These are our reasons:
The constituency has been called Dulwich and West Norwood since 1997. It was an amalgamation of the former Dulwich and Norwood Constituencies (both formed in 1885). The proposed changes would be a fundamental change to historical precedent.
Dulwich and Sydenham are separated by a line of sports fields along the South Circular backed up by a large area of woodland (formerly part of the historic Great North Wood) extending from Lordship Lane though to Crystal Palace Parade. There is no road link between the two areas other than Sydenham Hill/Kirkdale and College Road (approximately a mile apart) and there is no direct rail connection between them. There are also no existing community connections between Dulwich and Sydenham, both see themselves as stand-alone centres.
The proposed revised constituency cuts across existing community ties. Dulwich's community connections are with Norwood, Herne Hill and Brixton backed up by roads (and bus routes) and railways. Likewise for shopping, faith centres, G P Surgeries and the main cemetery. The Dulwich Society, the local amenity society in Dulwich works closely with the amenity groups in Herne Hill and Norwood.
Parts of West Dulwich will be located within the new Streatham and Norwood constituencies and there are concerns that matters affecting West Dulwich will not receive the attention required.
Herne Hill has developed a distinctive character within the current Dulwich and West Norwood constituency. The proposals mean it is now split between three constituencies which makes no sense, and which will cause problems when raising issues or concerns with MPs and authorities.
In summary, the plan to link Dulwich with Sydenham should be reconsidered and Herne Hill should remain with Dulwich; West Dulwich (Lambeth sections) should be in the same constituency as the rest of Dulwich.