MINUTES of the 52nd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the Society held on 27th April 2015, 8pm at St. Barnabas Centre, Calton Avenue SE21

Present: approximately 50 members
Apologies: Brian Green, David R. Roberts, Patrick Spencer, Gary Savage and Pat Reynolds

Introduction and Welcome by the President Dr Colin Niven OBE
He gave thanks to Peter Lawson and Marion Gibbs who were standing down as Vice-Presidents for their contributions to the Society. He also thanked Patrick Spencer who was standing down as Honorary Secretary after 20 years and who had played a major role in connection with the Edward Alleyn statue and the bomb plaques erected by the Society, and Jill Manuel who was retiring as Chair of the Tree Sub-Committee.

Minutes of the 51st AGM held on 28th April 2014 were approved and signed. No matters arising.

Reports on the activities of the Society in 2014. Written reports from the Chairman, Sub-Committee Chairmen and officers had previously been made available on the Society’s website (www.dulwichsociety.com) and their oral presentations to the meeting were confined to updates and highlighting certain points, and to give an opportunity for questions to be asked.

Chairman (Ian McInnes) The Society’s e-newsletter had been introduced during the year and 19 issues had now been sent out by email. It was sent to all members whose email addresses were known; many were not known and members were asked to provide them if they wanted to receive the e-newsletter. With the Society’s Journal being published only quarterly, the e-letter had been introduced to keep Members more frequently informed about local news and forthcoming events. The e-newsletter is also displayed on the notice board outside the Village Post Office.

Southwark Council was currently actively seeking to promote cycling, where money is available, with plans for a cycling spine from the north to the south of the borough and parallel quietways for less ambitious cyclists. Little informed work appears to have been done to date to flesh out the proposals, taking into account the impact on traffic and parking in the affected streets, but an impractical plan to route the spine through Dulwich Park has been dropped. A meeting with cabinet member Councillor Mark Williams has been arranged after the General Election with a view to progressing the plans in a more concrete manner.

All the large pubs on the Dulwich Estate were now closed except the Alleyn’s Head. The Crown and Greyhound was being converted to a boutique hotel and was unlikely to reopen until early next year. The Half Moon in Herne Hill had been closed since the flood in August 2013 and would not reopen until planning permission was obtained by the Dulwich Estate for redevelopment of the upper floors (see the Planning & Architecture report); this was likely to take many months. The Grove Tavern on the South Circular was definitely going and the site will be redeveloped as a medium size supermarket with flats above.

Planning and Architecture (David Roberts) David had had to send his apologies and his update was given by the Chairman.

The plans for redevelopment of the S G Smith site were progressing slowly.

The St Barnabas Parish Hall in the village had been listed Grade II.

Planning permission for the redevelopment of the upper floors of the Half Moon pub was still under discussion between the Estate and Southwark but from preliminary exchanges it was clear that Southwark preferred hotel rooms to flats. The Estate appears now to have decided that these should be operated by whoever becomes the publican of the ground floor.

Traffic and Transport (Alistair Hanton) Interest raised by cycling matters, including the now abandoned proposal to ban a right hand turn from Townley Road into East Dulwich Grove, had resulted in the doubling of the size of the sub-committee. Matters relating to rail services had also been important. Thanks were given to Sigrid Collins, who was standing down, for her contributions to the sub-committee’s work including the bringing of a continental perspective. In reply to a question, AH said it appeared that no official response to the changing of the name of Sydenham Hill station to South Dulwich could be expected until 2018 despite considerable support for the change because of the confusing nature of the present name. Other questions concerned disabled access to West Dulwich, North Dulwich and Sydenham Hill stations. Discussions with TfL continued with regard to West Dulwich but for technical reasons there appeared to be little hope for such access at North Dulwich. AH however offered to arrange a meeting with TfL for them to publically give a full explanation of the difficulties. Additionally there were demands from the floor for improvements to bus services in Dulwich and AH promised to follow this up.

Wild Life (Angela Wilkes) Details were given of an early morning (4.45 am) bird watching walk in Sydenham Hill woods and an evening walk for bird song.

Gardening (Jeremy Prescott, who has taken over from John Ward) There was now a completely new committee. They saw their main activities as (1) continued annual publication of booklet on gardens in Dulwich open for charity, (2) organising events for garden enthusiasts, open to all members, and (3) the promoting of gardens and gardening in Dulwich.

Trees (Jill Manuel, who is standing down) It has now been decided that the replacements for the diseased large horse chestnuts outside 95 and 97 Dulwich Village will be copper beeches rather than plane trees. An ash tree has been lost in Dulwich Park but plans are afoot for the planting of new trees around the park. A major issue for trees in Dulwich is a growing demand, driven by insurance companies, for the removal of trees allegedly causing damage to neighbouring buildings, even when these are relatively recent and of shoddy construction.

Local History (Bernard Nurse) The Post Office cart in Dulwich livery was now parked and secured in the porch of Rosebery Lodge; it had not been possible to take it inside the building as it was too wide for the door. The WW1 plaques had now been returned to Christ Church, Barry Road, where they had originally come from. Alleyn’s School have agreed to digitalise back articles from the Society’s Journal with an index and they will be available on the Society’s website. The burial ground will again be open for visits during the Dulwich Festival in May.

Presentation of Accounts and Financial Report for 2014 by the Society’s Hon. Treasurer, Russell Lloyd. He pointed to a surplus in the year of £1,513, which was better than the £637 in the previous year, mainly because of a reduction in operating costs. The Chairman thanked Russell for his efforts.

Appointment of Hon. Auditor. Sally-Anne Jeffries was proposed for re-election and this was duly approved.

ELECTIONS for 2015/16

The following, having been duly proposed and seconded, were elected:

(a) Officers

Chairman: Ian McInnes
Vice-Chairman: Kenneth Wolfe
Hon. Secretary: Susan Badman
Hon. Treasurer: Russell Lloyd
Membership Secretary: Diana McInnes

(b) Members of Executive Committee:
Brian Green Editor of the Journal
Alistair Hanton Traffic & Transport sub-committee
David Roberts Planning & Architecture Group
Angela Wilkes Wildlife sub-committee
Jeremy Prescott Gardens sub-committee
Glynis Williams Trees sub-committee
Bernard Nurse Local History sub-committee
Adrian Hill
(c) Honorary Officers:
President: Dr Colin Niven OBE
Vice-Presidents: Ian Dejardin MA
His Honour Michael Goodman
His Honour Michael Rich QC
Dr Gary Savage
Dr Joseph Spence

Any Other Business
There was a query about access to the Rosebery Lodge. The Chairman said this was available to members but for security and insurance reasons the premises had to be kept locked. Persons wanting access could apply to him for the key.
After the meeting there was a showing of some of the original Gaumont “shorts” filmed at their open-air studios in Dulwich between 1900 and 1910.
Post Meeting Note
The Membership report is on the Dulwich Society web site. There was no oral Membership report at the meeting. Membership remains at 1100 households. Just over 10% live outside Dulwich and our membership for Dulwich represents approximately 20% of all households. For the financial year 2013-2014 we claimed £2247.62 from HMRC for gift aid.

Minutes by: Adrian Hill, 26 May 2015