Dulwich Society Annual General Meeting - 7 May 2019
Executive Committee Reports For The Year 2018
Executive Committee: The committee met 6 times in 2018 and I am sure all members appreciate the amount of work done by it, and the Chairs, and members, of our specialist sub-committees.
Journal: The Society’s Journal, edited by Brian Green, continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership and around 80% of the copies are still distributed by hand - for which we also thank the zone coordinators and the many volunteer members who put the Journal through your letter boxes.
Dulwich Estate: The newly instigated Dulwich Estate monthly surgeries are a positive move and have been well attended.
Residents’ Advisory Group: The Society Chairman and Chair of Planning and Architecture, together with representatives from Dulwich residents’ associations drawn from across the Dulwich Estate, sit on the Estate Scheme of Management (SOM) Advisory Group which meets three times a year to discuss matters relating to the SOM. The Society collates, and issues ahead of the meetings, a list of items for discussion with the Estate that arise from our members’ and residents’ concerns, and issues that the Society has identified across the Estate. The Dulwich Estate CEO, Simone Crofton, attended the Society’s July Executive Meeting to set out her vision and address concerns raised by Society members. In addition, the Chairman and Secretary meet the Estate CEO and Director of Property on a regular basis to discuss members’ concerns on matters outside the SOM.
New Almshouses: The Estate has not yet managed to find an alternative local site for the new building.
Pubs: There has been no progress on the Grove Tavern - we are assured by both the Estate and the Council that they want to move forward but nothing appears to happen. The current lease does not run out till 2025 so potentially we have 6 more years of inaction.
Village shops: We welcomed the butcher, the ‘Proud Sow’ at the end of the year, but the continuing delays over the arrival of ‘Simply Fresh’ are frustrating. Harvey & Wheeler’s move frees up space for a new unit at the north end of the Village shops - there is a rumour of a make-up shop there while alleged potential occupiers of the former S G Smith showroom from range from Waitrose to the Ivy Café. In West Dulwich, 3 of the 4 new units are now occupied, and we await the arrival of the ‘Dulwich Bazaar’ restaurant.
Roadworks: The monitoring report on the Dulwich Village junction should be published at the end of April. Even the Council are prepared to concede that it has not had the beneficial impact that they were expecting.
We finally had agreement on new coach routes but implementation has been delayed because of the delays in the Thames Water works on Lordship Lane & Dulwich Common - TfL will not go ahead until the latter are complete.
Council CGS funding: The Council is cutting back on the amount of grants under the scheme, and the Society’s recent awards reflect that. We have won money for posts and chains, trees, and repairs to the historic South Croxted Road bus stop
Local Neighbourhood Police changes: Southwark and Lambeth forces have been combined under a single superintendent. The Dulwich Hill, Village and Wood wards Safer Neighbourhood Teams are now based at the former Gipsy Hill Police Station - which is much nearer to their operational area than their previous base at Camberwell.
Crime: Local levels of crime remain a concern with burglaries, muggings and motor vehicle theft at a higher level than we are used to. The local Safer Neighbourhood Teams do their best but there is no doubt that police resources have been cut. After extensive lobbying from the Society, Councillors and our local MP, we have managed to secure some dedicated schools’ officers, and this has led directly to a reduction in youth-on-youth robbery - but some of the schools are now employing their own security guards
The spate of credit card thefts reported last year appears to have abated, and an arrest made at the Alleyn park sorting office, but there were further problems there when a large number of undelivered letters and parcel were found stored in cupboards on the site there.
The closure of the East Dulwich sorting office also impacted on the timing and efficiency of mail deliveries in SE22. ED residents now have to go to Peckham to collect undelivered mail or large parcels.
Local Neighbourhood Forums: The projected Dulwich Village Neighbourhood Forum is currently on hold and it is unclear as to when the Herne Hill Neighbourhood Forum will be registered. On a more positive note, the Sydenham Hill Ridge Neighbourhood Forum is progressing well.
Ian McInnes, Chairman
Hon. Secretary’s Report:
Rosebery Lodge: The Lodge in Dulwich Park was well utilised as a meeting place by the Dulwich University of the Third Age (U3A) groups, the Dulwich Vegetable Garden and for Society archive storage and exhibition space during 2018. However, the Society decided at the end of 2018 not to extend the Rosebery lease with Southwark Council and will return the Lodge to Southwark Council on 1st June 2019 - we felt that, in future, it would be best managed by the Council itself.
Communication with members: Circulating information to members, stakeholders and the wider community is vital. The Society Noticeboard was reinstalled near the Crown and Greyhound during the year. Apart from the popular monthly e-newsletter (sent to over 700 members) and quarterly Journal, the Society publishes news and updates on the Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com. Our Twitter feed @dulwichsociety has 1200 followers and our new Instagram feed #dulwichsociety 450 followers. The Garden and Local History groups also have Twitter feeds. We also 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grants: Our grants last year included:
- Paying for the digitisation of the court rolls and the historic Dulwich Estate maps (split 50/50 with the Dulwich College archive),
- Paid for the four historic information signs in College Road covering the Millpond, the Dulwich windmill, the Covered Courts and the Tollgate - plus one for the historic bus top in South Croxted Road.
- Paying for a condition report on the weather damaged mural at the Charter School North Dulwich
- Paying for tree labels in Dulwich Park
- Paying for London Wildlife Trust activities in Dulwich Woods - following on from our much larger grant last year
- Contribution to a Dulwich Poetry event at Bell House.
- Contribution to the Bell House information sign.
- Contribution to Safer Routes to School to attend a Healthy Streets event at County Hall.
- Contribution to crowdfunding for Brockwell Tranquility’s legal case to clarify the scope of events in parks.
- Contribution to Dulwich Festival film.
The green screen which we part sponsored at the Goose Green School was installed and opened during the year.
Requests for Information: There is a steady flow of family history and heritage enquiries to the Society as well as requests from people wanting information about specific houses 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. Increasingly people write to us having read an article to supply new information. We are appreciative of all those who supply photographs and interesting tales of Dulwich life.
Public engagement and consultations: The Society has continued to be very active in the promotion of public engagement and 2018 was a busy year for traffic, transport and planning consultations. At the end of the year, the Society started planning a public meeting on “Getting Around Dulwich” in early January 2019 with a panel of MP, Councillors and experts focusing on such issues as speeding vehicles, air pollution, parking solutions as well as encouraging walking and cycling.
The wildlife, trees and licensing teams have continued to be closely involved in proposals by Lambeth and Southwark to hold outdoor events in parks in early 2018 especially Peckham Rye, Dulwich and Brockwell Parks. The Society met with the key Southwark decision maker, Cllr Rebecca Lury and Head of Events in August 2018 to raise concerns about the decisions on park events since when the council has reviewed its outdoor events policy and is conducting a public consultation.
The Quietway 7 construction work in Southwark was finished but the Quietway remains incomplete as Lambeth have not completed their section of it and it is unclear whether it will ever be finished. Concerns continue over the Dulwich Village junction and some view Quietway 7 a failure and a frustrating waste of public money. Regardless there are plans for a second quietway and further reconfiguration of traffic layouts in the Dulwich area.
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. Our governance is continually under review and all governance updates are posted to the Society web site once approved by the Executive Committee.
Sue Badman, Hon Secretary
Membership Secretary’s Report:
Membership remains at over 1150 households and represents approximately 20% of all households in Dulwich. We gained 50 new members and lost 58 during the year.
For the financial year 2017-2018 we claimed £2412.69 from HMRC for gift aid.
Approximately 20% of our journals are 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 would welcome volunteers, particularly in the East Dulwich area, who would be willing to help to deliver a small number of journals on a quarterly basis.
The eNewsletter is now sent to over 725 of our members who have given us their email addresses. It is sent out on a monthly basis and provides a useful mechanism to keep members up to date on important issues affecting Dulwich (such as planning or transport 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 email@example.com
Diana McInnes, Membership Secretary
Report From The Planning & Architecture Group:
Dulwich Estate Licence Applications: The number of applications has declined slightly year on year being 212 in 2016, 199 in 2017, to 189 in 2018. The Planning and Architecture group attend each month at the Scheme of Management office in the Old Grammar School on the corner of Gallery Road and Burbage Road to comment on recent licence applications. Members comprise both those with a professional background in Architecture and/or Planning and those with local knowledge, and some across all.
Comments on individual aspects of an application are either noted as ‘No objection’ or ‘Objection ‘, in which case a reason is given. These comments are advisory to the Scheme of Management. Objections by the Planning and Architecture Group are taken up by the Estate’s Consultant Architect with a view to resolve issues where possible in discussions with the applicant and others. In the event of a failure to reach an agreed solution the matter is referred to the SOM Management Committee for a decision.
A new ‘Guidelines for Residents’ under the Scheme of Management was published in June 2018. The illustrated guidelines state that “Applications will be determined in the light of the guidance given here”. The guidelines cover a wide range of external changes to enfranchised properties within the Dulwich Estate area. The introduction describes which external changes require consent, how to make an application, how to apply for a building works licence and licence fee guidance. The detail content covers:
- Boundary changes
- Hard standing in front gardens
- Loft conversions
- External repairs
- Replacement doors and windows
- Satellite dish aerials
- Change of use
- Swimming pools and hot tubs
- Shop fronts
- Garden structures
- Solar energy panels and solar thermal collectors.
There are also guidelines for tree weeks including how to apply for a licence, caring for established trees and choosing a new tree. There is no fee for advice on tree works, nor for a licence.
For Dulwich residents planning external changes to their property it is beneficial to refer to the ‘Guidelines for Residents’ to speed the processing of any application. Discussions with neighbours and the Estate’s Consultant Architect can aid a smooth passage for a successful licence application.
The final item in these guidelines refers to unlicensed works and breaches of the Scheme of Management.
Former SG Smith Workshop Site/Gilkes Crescent: Further investigation works have continued sporadically during the year with excavations and piles of soil but no sign of concerted construction works. Unsightly loosely linked wire mesh panels on concrete bases enclose the site. The secure maintenance of the empty site continues to give concern to local residents.
Grove Tavern on the corner of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane: This is the fifth year that the fly posted boarded up building sits at the gateway to Dulwich Common. There is no indication of viable development plans being put forward to replace this derelict building.
Southwark Sports Club, Dulwich Common: The planning application for floodlighting of the football pitch now includes a bat survey, which shows the present of Leisler’s bat, the common Pipistrelle and the Soprano Pipistrelle bats. The bat report recommended a curfew 1 April to 30 September when floodlighting is used, mitigation of light spillage and dark habitat buffers. The application is down to go to Planning sub-committee A.
No 1 Fountain Drive: Construction work for 6 terrace properties is progressing well with completion expected in 2019.
Dulwich Picture Gallery temporary pavilion: Planning permission was granted on 31 January 2019 for a design competition winning temporary pavilion building for the summer period up to the end of September 2019 to provide ancillary exhibition and gallery facilities. It comprises an accessible, raised gantry walkway at approximately 2.1m high within a timber cube structure measuring approximately 10m high, 11m wide and 11m deep,
David Lloyd Roberts, Chair
Report From The Traffic And Transport Group:
Reducing traffic levels in Dulwich
A very successful public meeting, facilitated by the Dulwich Society, was held on 12 January 2019. The main purpose was for residents to tell the Council how a more ‘liveable’ Dulwich could be achieved, and also for the Council to explain how their current and upcoming policies might impact on the area. Over 120 people attended to hear Helen Hayes (local MP), Richard Livingstone (Southwark’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport Management and Air Quality), Margy Newens and Richard Leeming (Village Ward Councillors), Dr Helen Ward (an expert on the impact of traffic generated pollution on school children) and Henrietta Collier (a local resident who described the implementation of the recent trial street closure experiment outside Bessemer Grange School).
Air pollution in London is of major concern and the Mayor is introducing an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019 in Central London, which will be extended to the South Circular in October 2021. Further information will be circulated to attendees and Councillors will be following up on the issues raised.
Southwark Council’s Movement Plan
This 38-page document sets out the Council’s policies for implementing parts of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, based on the Healthy Streets approach and aiming for a higher proportion of London’s journeys by public transport, walking and cycling.
The Society’s response to this document has now been submitted to Southwark as part of their consultation process.
Visit to Waltham Forest Mini-Holland
About 15 Dulwich people participated in the visit in November 2018. They were guided by two well informed Waltham Forest guides. The visit provided an opportunity for assessing the possible application in Dulwich of the measures seen. Simone Crofton, CEO of the Dulwich Estate, one of the participants.
Car parking & controlled parking zones:
The CPZ in Village Way is now operational.
Dulwich College has received planning consent for the next stage of its master plan implementation: the removal of car parking from its current location in front of the main buildings to a new car park located by the railway line and accessed off Alleyn Park.
Electric charging points:
Some electric charging points are already being piloted in the Herne Hill area, and the Council has plans for electric charging points in lampposts
Quietway 7 in Turney Road
Lambeth Council and TfL are still disagreeing over the scope of the work and the Council will be re-consulting on the project sometime in the Spring.
An article in the Evening Standard on 18 December 2018 implied that Cycle Superhighways are to be renamed in an attempt to secure more support for them. Quietways, non-segregated routes like Turney Road, are likely to be renamed because they leave everyone confused.
Foundation school coaches:
Re-routing the Foundation Coaches to ease the traffic in Dulwich has been agreed, but will involve works at the junction of College Road and the South Circular, which are being funded and managed by TfL. This will involve completely shutting College Road (north)for two weeks, together with a series of short-term overnight closures of the South Circular. The timing of this work, and the installation of a pedestrian crossing at the junction of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common by the Grove Tavern, is dependent on the completion of planned works by Thames Water at the junction of Lordship Lane and the South Circular. If there is not careful planning of these projects, the result will be major traffic disruption.
A new passenger one-way system has been launched at Denmark Hill Station to reduce the level of congestion. Passengers will now access the platform by the old footbridge and exit the platform by the new footbridge. Network Rail are looking at plans to build a second station entrance on Windsor Walk but this will not be open until 2020 at the earliest.
West Dulwich station was one of the 22 south eastern stations nominated for step free access but we have now found out that it did not make the final shortlist.
The Traffic & Transport Committee has been successful in negotiating for a bench to be sited inside the ticket hall of North Dulwich Station, and is also seeking the installation of a further covered seating area for passengers on the platform where trains travelling to London Bridge stop.
An impressive presentation on this subject was made to the Transport and Traffic Committee by Tim Walker of the Forest Hill Society (FHS). We are keeping in touch with the FHS on the issue.
The sub-committee: The Sub-committee meets approximately quarterly, with considerable activity between meetings.
Alastair Hanton, Chair
Report From The Licensing Group:
Southwark Council Licensing team notifies the Society of all new licensing applications for premises in Dulwich ; ‘premises’ meaning not only pubs,wine bars, restaurants and shops and other premises selling alcohol, but take-aways, night clubs ( thankfully not something we have to contend with in Dulwich! ) and open air locations, i.e., parks, where licenseable entertainment activities ( music, dance and films) may take place. A report on each application is then made to the Society’s Executive Committee who recommend whether the Society should make a representation, either in favour of or against, the application.
In the last year the Society made representations opposing large music festivals in both Peckham Rye Park and Brockwell Park, on the grounds that such festivals did not meet at least one of the four objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 (prevention of nuisance, prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and protection of children from harm). Whilst the representations did not prevent the music festivals concerned from taking place, they appear to have had some effect on Southwark Council’s consultation procedure regarding future events.
The Society also made representations in support of a local business whose licence was subject to review and against other applications by restaurants seeking to extend opening hours later than the closing time recommended by Southwark Council for the Dulwich residential area.
Patsy Bramble, chair
Report From The Local History Group:
Seven maps of the Dulwich Estate from 1852 to 1932 kept in Dulwich College Archives have been digitised and placed on the Society’s website; early court rolls of the manor have also been digitised. Four information boards have been put up in the vicinity of Dulwich College featuring the histories of the former windmill on the site of the school, the Millpond and Pond Cottages, the former Covered Courts on the site of the Sports Club and the tollgate on College Road. An information board has also been placed on the old bus shelter in South Croxted Road near Paxton Green. The work has been supported by a generous legacy from Southwark’s former Local History Librarian, Mary Boast.
During the Dulwich Festival in May walks around the area between the College and the tollgate were led by Brian Green and on Georgian Dulwich by Ian McInnes. In October, the committee celebrated its 150th meeting and its fiftieth-year anniversary; a report on some of its activities over this period was published in the Journal. Among the wide range of other subjects on local history covered were articles on two occupiers of Bell House, Anthony Harding and George Widdowson, past residents of Colby Road and businesses in the Parkhall Centre, Charles Fairfax Murray and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the writer, William Thackeray, the artist, Ben Nicholson, the Derbyshire Colony, schools on Thurlow Park Road, Dulwich Hamlet FC, suffragettes and conscientious objectors. Enquiries received included one about Joan Clarke, Alan Turing’s friend who attended Dulwich High School and another about an old model for sale of Dulwich Manor House (Hall Place, Park Hall Road).
Bernard Nurse, Chair
Report From The Garden Group:
In March we produced our annual brochure “Dulwich Gardens open for charity”, compiled by Ann Rutherford, distributing copies to all members of the Society and an additional 4,000+ copies to relevant local outlets. The brochure gives details of some 40 local garden that raise considerable sums for the National Gardens Scheme, St Christopher’s Hospice, Link Age Southwark and other national and local charities. Dulwich punches above its weight in London for the number of gardens that open for charity, a tribute to the generosity of all those involved.
In March we enjoyed an excellent talk by Tom Scott-Smith, its Head Gardener, on “Sissinghurst - Revitalising Vita”, attended by some 90 people. In June we arranged an enjoyable coach visit to The Beth Chatto Gardens and to the RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex for some 50 members of the Society, the talk and the visits being ably organised by Will Anderson. In July we organised a London visit to see the Horniman Museum gardens, including the new Grassland Gardens designed by Prof James Hitchmough, which were shown to us by the Head of Horticulture Wesley Shaw. We are lucky to have these well-maintained gardens on our doorstep. Our events, which are publicised in the Journal and eNewsletter, are open to all members of the Dulwich Society.
In addition to these activities, we try generally to encourage gardening and horticulture in the area. Jeremy Prescott, Chair
Report From The Trees Sub-Committee:
The Tree Committee continues to promote the planting, maintenance and enjoyment of trees in Dulwich. In 2018 David Beamish succeeded Glynis Williams as chair.
The Society’s tree map of the gardens of Dulwich Picture Gallery was updated and made available online from the Society’s tree web page https://www.dulwichsociety.com/trees. The map is also available in the Gallery entrance hall.
Work began, with help from Dulwich Park Friends, on labelling many of the trees in Dulwich Park, and we hope also to produce a Dulwich Park tree trail.
An article on a tree-related topic was published in every issue of the Society’s Journal, and that is set to continue in 2019.
Daniel Greenwood, formerly London Wildlife Trust’s manager at Sydenham Hill Wood, now working for South Downs National Park, kindly led an oak-themed walk in Dulwich Park on 10 June, and has offered to lead another tree walk in 2019. His successor at Sydenham Hill Wood, Rachel Dowse, has joined the Tree Committee.
The foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa) outside the Post Office in the centre of the village, which flowered magnificently in 2017, sadly died during the year - probably because of the effects of de-icing salt - and had to be removed, along with the surrounding bench commemorating Lieutenant Mark Evison, but the tree was replaced in March 2019 and the bench was reinstated in early April.
Successful bids for Southwark Council’s “Cleaner Greener Safer” funding for 2018-19 included provision for tree planting in each of the then three Dulwich wards. The money was used for street tree planting and for trees in the garden of Dulwich Library. For 2019-20 only one of our tree bids was successful, for Dulwich Village Ward, but the good news is that the Council hopes to use that to plant more trees in the Library garden in April/May 2019.
We continue to be available to advise residents on their tree problems via the email helpline firstname.lastname@example.org
David Beamish, chair
Report From The Wildlife Sub Committee:
There have been winners and losers over the past year’s wildlife calendar - and some valuable leaders which should jog us all into action to make the future brighter.
The Society were among several organisations backing London Wildlife Trust’s Great North Wood Living Landscape project in south-east London. Just under £700,000 was raised overall, the majority coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has resulted in the creation of new footpaths in heavily-compressed sites within Sydenham Hill Wood and its next-door neighbour, Dulwich Wood. Uncontrolled footfall - yes, you can love your local wildlife ecological gem a bit too much - has eroded soil, heavy rainfall has washed layers away. Temporary fencing is protecting known wildflower areas, allowing tree roots to breathe and enabling our local hedgehogs and birds to forage and feed without disturbance.
Big urban areas like ours are surprisingly rich in flora and fauna. Our green spaces and gardens brilliant oases. Yet some of the best bird watching in recent months has taken place in the busy car park of a large local supermarket. Rare barbastelle bats have been found in London for the first time in 50 years, and the Brown Long-Eared bat, which doesn’t normally nest near people, was recorded both in Sydenham Hill Wood inside the old railway tunnel and in Dulwich Park. The tunnel is too cold and damp to make an ideal roost, even though it is now closed and secured. Cracks in a real, old mature tree make better homes for bats, birds and insects and LWT are recording Ancient and Veteran trees across the whole area so that they can be best managed to maintain them as healthy, living wildlife habitats.
A cold Spring made life difficult for birds. The conditions produced large numbers of incoming Redwings - flocks of about 50 in Dulwich Park, 80 Fieldfares on Dulwich College playing fields. A big colony of toads and newts were discovered at the rear of a house in College Road, living in a large undisturbed compost heap with a big old pond nearby. Our Wildlife Recorder, Dr Peter Roseveare, heard a Mistle thrush (very few notes, very strident, a species that has been decreasing) at the top of a tree. Goldfinches were seen to be doing well, Chaffinches and Green finches less so.
Mid-year, butterflies were sadly lacking; no Tortoiseshells, Peacocks, Red Admirals and Commas in what should have been an ideal summer. The ‘Beast from the East’ and April snow would have killed our native butterflies emerging from hibernation. Migrants were notably absent, recovery likely to take years. But there were plenty of Dragonflies recorded.
Worldwide insect decline, poor air quality, an ever-expanding human footprint, climate change, wildfires, floods and other manifestations of Nature’s destructive powers continue to give all life on earth challenge. As Sir David Attenborough said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, there have never been more people out of touch with the natural world. Its future, he said, was in our hands. “We can wreck it without even knowing we are doing it.” We need to value, respect and protect our important local green spaces and aim to improve them. But first and foremost, we must try to Do No Harm. That includes putting major works or music events, with loud, continual amplified, round-the-clock sound and bright lighting in public green spaces during the bird nesting season, i.e., March through to July.
Angela Wilkes, Chair.