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It’s good to see the opening of the new “Poisson de Mer” deli in Dulwich Village and the brand new post office at Rumsey pharmacy but in Herne Hill things are less optimistic and many people are concerned about the future of their favourite shops in Herne Hill. “Just Williams”, the toy shop on Half Moon Lane closed its doors on 24th January after 10 years “due to high rent increases”. The reason given initially was that that the Dulwich Estate, its landlord, had raised the rent level to renew the lease by 70%.
There was a highly critical article on the Herne Hill Forum website and a considerable number of negative comments on other internet forums and Twitter - and an on-line petition asking the DE to reconsider the rent hike has already attracted over 1700 signatures.
The Dulwich Estate responded quickly with a factual note which suggested a rather different scenario, refuting the 70% increase claims. On 22nd January in an article in the South London Press, John Major of the Dulwich Estate explained “it is the policy of The Dulwich Estate not to discuss arrangements with its tenants since these are considered to be private.
However, the facts of the situation in relation to the property occupied by Just Williams are that the tenant was offered in October 2014 a new lease from July 2015 with a rent increase equivalent to 5.8% per annum from that fixed for the five-year period from July 2010 to July 2015.
The rent from 2010 to 2015 was £22,000. The rent for the new lease was £28,400.
The tenant failed to take this up but remained in occupation from July 2015 until January 2016 at an interim rent which reflected the then market level”
Vicky, the owner of “Just Williams” toyshop has robustly countered the Estate arguments online stating that Dulwich Estate representatives failed to respond to her emails and requests for negotiation.
The debate continues but has widened to include other local landlords such as Network Rail. There will be a protest march on Saturday 30th January from 3.30pm outside Herne Hill station in support of the “Save our Shops” campaign. The petition can be found here - www.change.org/..
It is no secret that the Estate is looking to raise its shop rents on review; there are rumours of substantial increases in the northern part of Dulwich Village and West Dulwich. Given the substantial reduction in footfall due to the Herne Hill Flood and the temporary closure of the Crown and Greyhound in the Village, increasing rents would seem counter intuitive. But then both Dulwich and Herne Hill are attractive and popular areas for families and young professionals, and it is therefore no surprise that there is increasing competition for commercial units. It is worth remembering too that The Dulwich Estate seeks to manage its endowments in the long term interests of its beneficiaries which include several state schools & almshouses, and its contributions to the Foundation schools help to support bursaries.
There are plans afoot to set up Neighbourhood Forums in both Herne Hill and Dulwich which will give both areas more teeth on planning and community issues. With the live music campaign at the Half Moon Pub, concerns about the green space at the Judith Kerr Primary School and now with local shops the Herne Hill campaigners are urging The Dulwich Estate to consider the long term impact on the community of the decisions they make.
What do you think about the range of independent shops in Herne Hill and Dulwich? What would you like to see in the area and is the mix right?
7.30pm Wednesday 9th March 2016
Lecture Theatre, Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, London SE22 8SU
Our expert panel of three speakers discuss what we can do to enhance our front gardens.
Tickets are £7 each, including a glass of wine. For details and an application form, see the Gardens section.
The Dulwich Estate have confirmed that they have signed a lease on the Half Moon with pub operator Fuller Smith & Turner Plc (Fullers) It is hoped that the pub will re-open in the late summer of 2016.
Townley Road Junction:
There has been a variety of correspondence on the matter of the outstanding safety concerns at the Townley Road junction since its redevelopment. The current situation has been discussed in some detail at recent Dulwich Society Transport Committee meetings and the Society is now looking to Councillors to take action on behalf of the local community to remedy the ongoing safety issues.
We are aware of the communications between individual Councillors, Southwark and TfL since the junction re-opened in September but, so far, this has not resulted in a commitment from TfL and Southwark over a clear timetable for the work to be completed. These issues continue to be observed by users of the junction and are specified in Southwark's own Safety Audit reports.
- There is an apparent random functioning of the traffic light filter controlling vehicles turning right from East Dulwich Grove into Townley Road. This leads to vehicles being stranded in the middle of the junction when the lights turn red and has led to potential conflicts with vehicles and cyclists. This danger was highlighted in the Interim Stage 3 road safety Audit; problem 3.6, page 15. This dangerous situation has already been allowed to continue for almost 3 months. See monitoring observations in December under point 1 below.
- Matt Hill of Southwark Council stated in October that "the UTC/Scoot signalling system will be commissioned on 3 November. We will be following up with TfL this week about implementation of ‘early release’ phasing for cyclists". There has been no update from Officers, Councillors or at the last DCC on the status and/or success of this commissioning. See more detail at point 2 below.
- There is a known conflict of large vehicles, such as coaches, turning left at Townley where they penetrate the Advanced Cycle Lane on the east bound side of East Dulwich Grove. This is predicted and reported in the series of the Safety Audit Reports and there is no clarity on when this will be remedied.
- The exposure of cyclists heading south from Greendale to Townley Road remains due to lack of clear signage. A collision of a young cyclist with a car has been reported to Southwark previously.
Given the time elapsed and the safety issues that remain, we ask our Councillors to take appropriate action to ensure that TfL and Southwark remedy the situation with urgently.
Chair Dulwich Society
The planning application for the new shopfront and signage was submitted to Southwark just before Christmas. The application references are 15/AP/2020 & 15/AP/2021. There is still some local concern over whether the proposed shopfront design, and particularly the colour of the lettering, is appropriate for a conservation area like Dulwich Village. If you have a view please go to the Council’s website and comment.
There is no further news to report on the new tenant although the Society was told that it would be before Christmas. In the meantime the application to Southwark to register the pub as an Asset of Community Value was successful.
There is still no confirmation on the date when the new cycling facilities to be operational and Southwark has yet to respond to concerns raised in a recent safety audit.
The Charter School East Dulwich (TCSED) will now open in September 2016 on the former Lewisham and Southwark College campus on Southampton Way SE5 7EW. The site will serve as TCSED's temporary home until September 2018, when the school will move into its permanent home on the Dulwich Community Hospital site. This is a positive change from the original plan which was to develop temporary school facilities on the hospital site while the new main school buildings were being constructed on the adjacent site.
It was confirmed at the public Quietway consultation meeting on 4 November that, from October 2016, the 42 bus route would be extended along East Dulwich Grove as far as Sainsbury’s at Dog kennel Hill. This will finally offer direct access from Dulwich to Kings College Hospital.
The new post office opened in Rumsey’s the chemist on 22 December 2015.
The final meeting of the initial public engagement phase was held on 4 November. The Society had arranged for Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner to speak, and well over 100 people attended. Sustrans are now writing their report which should be on the Southwark website within 2-3 weeks. It will be discussed at the next Dulwich Community Council meeting on 2 December.
The preparation of the New Southwark Plan has now reached the ‘Preferred Option’ stage. The confirmed dates for the public consultation are Monday 26 October 2015 until Friday 12 February 2016. All responses must be received by 5pm on Friday 12 February 2016. http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/856/planning_policy/3315/the_new_southwark_plan