Annual General Meetings, important as they might be, are not usually the content of gripping stuff, griping stuff perhaps - not that that happens at the Dulwich Society's AGM!
No, the reason for pointing out the importance of this year's AGM, which takes place on 27 March, is to highlight it as a time when people might find more about how the Society functions, and, if they are so moved, to become more active within it.
As you probably know, the Dulwich Society, now in its 44th year was founded to foster and safeguard the amenities of Dulwich. It does this through the work of its Executive Committee and a number of Sub-Committees. The AGM is an occasion when you can meet the people that lead and form these important committees, and, perhaps offer yourself as a potential member of one.
The Executive Committee appoints four Dulwich Society members to the Scheme of Management Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is composed of the Trustees of The Dulwich Estate, and appointed members from amenity societies such as ours. It meets three times a year and can bring up any matter affecting living in Dulwich. It was appointed by Parliament, following13 representation by the Dulwich Society through the courts, following the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
The Planning & Architecture Sub-Committee is consulted by both the Dulwich Estate and by the planning departments of local councils on all applications made to them. It thus has a powerful voice in determining the visual character of Dulwich. It is currently seeking to maintain a high quality of architecture of any new building within Dulwich and will resist, together with the Dulwich Estate, attempts by home owners to demolish existing houses with a view to rebuilding in what might be considered an inappropriate style.
The Trees Sub-Committee is active in the preservation of existing trees and the planting of new trees throughout Dulwich. It is strongly resisting attempts by insurers to demand the automatic removal of trees, without sufficient evidence of blame, in cases of house subsidence. It has in the past year applied for a number of Tree Preservation Orders from the local authorities to thwart the peremptory removal of trees.
The Wildlife Committee is active in the Greener Dulwich Campaign and supports the London Wildlife Trust and other bodies in the promotion of ecology. It has successfully brought pressure to bear on local authorities on the preservation of opportunities for wildlife to flourish within parks and open spaces. It maintains a record of wildlife sightings in the area.
The Gardening Sub-Committee is active in encouraging gardening through visits to members' gardens through the year in addition to lectures by gardening experts. Three hundred Dulwich Society members are on the Gardening mailing list for receiving garden visit invitations.
The Local History Sub-Committee is active in historical research of the area and its findings are regularly published in these columns.
If you feel passionate about any of the issues raised above, then you could do no better than seeking out the appropriate officers of the Dulwich Society on 27 March, and over a glass (or two!) of wine find out how you might make a contribution.
On the other hand, if you think the pen is mightier than the sword, then you are invited to join the contributors to this Newsletter. Articles connected with Dulwich on diverse, emotive and interesting topics are always welcome by me.