This has been a good summer for the Garden Group. A wide variety of local gardens were opened for our members and we are truly grateful to the owners for all the work that they put in to prepare them for our visit and for the helpful advice they give. One garden had a large- scale model railway, which appealed not only to the children - a 90 year old was spotted taking a ride! A number of charities benefited from these openings, and our plant sale organised by Sylvia and Ken Daniel raised £220 for the Mildmay Mission Hospital.
Every year we hold a competition. This year, to celebrate the Group's 25th anniversary, it was for the best silver (or white) flower. The winner was Judith Ward with a splendid Begonia, closely followed at joint second by Maureen Springbett with an outstanding Hydrangea and Eric Hamilton with a most unusual and attractive Clematis.
The weather was perfect for both of our full day outings. The first was to two of the finest gardens in England, Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. More recently we had a thoroughly enjoyable day at Kew, which included a particularly interesting guided tour.
John Ward (Chairman, Garden Group)
A number of improvements in road safety have recently been achieved by the Dulwich Society through the "Walk to School Campaign" promoted by Transport for London (TfL). These improvements followed consultation by the Society with local schools, Southwark Council members and officers and TfL. The places identified by the Dulwich Society and where work has been carried out include new zebra crossings built across Burbage Road and outside Alleyn's School in Townley Road and the entry treatment at the junction of Woodwarde Road and Calton Avenue. These measures will make it safer for children to walk to and from the Village schools as well as JAGS and Alleyn's.
The new speed table and crossing on Red Post Hill makes it safer for pupils from roads on the west side of Red Post Hill, including those in the North Dulwich triangle to get to school. It also slows the traffic in Red Post Hill, which was a big problem for residents there. The Dulwich Society worked with the Red Post Hill Residents' Association to achieve this change.
In the Village, changes to the layout of the roundabout at the south end are an improvement with the new island and cycle slip slowing southbound vehicles, but there are still conflicts between traffic coming from Gallery Road and traffic coming round the roundabout.
Finally, as the Newsletter goes to print, a new crossing is being built across the South Circular Road near the Queen Mary Gate. There, road crossing has previously been very hazardous for people alighting from buses and wanting to reach the Park or various sports grounds as well as for residents of Hambledon Place attempting to cross the road.
Alastair Hanton (Chairman, Traffic and Transport Group)
Cycling has now returned to the Velodrome but local residents have been concerned over the management of events. In one recent case, the track's managers, the Velo Club de Londrés, failed to open the gates to allow cars to park on the site. This caused chaos in Burbage Road and considerable annoyance to everyone in the area.
At the same time the Society understands that the Estate is continuing negotiations with Citygrove Estates to look at various development options which might provide a more secure future for the track. Both the Society and local residents' associations have reminded the Estate that any development not directly related to cycling will be unwelcome.
Southwark recently refused applications for a mast on the corner of Allison Grove and Dulwich Common and hopefully they will do the same for one in Alleyn Park by the railway bridge. Lambeth has also turned down a proposal for a mast on the corner of Rosendale Road and Lovelace Road.
A large number of people objected to the proposed mast on the Pelo Sports Ground, the subject of a recent consultation exercise by the Estate, and the Society awaits alternative proposals on suitable sites which will not impact on schools and homes.
Southwark's proposed extension of the Controlled Parking Zone in Burbage Road, Carver Road and North Dulwich is rapidly turning into a consultation disaster. Despite requests for further discussion, the Council's consultants have consistently refused to meet local residents' associations and we understand that even Councillors are having trouble in finding out what is actually happening.
S G Smith's application for Planning and Conservation Area Consent to remove the old tyre bay building on Gilkes Crescent, and demolish the canopy over the petrol station and turn both into car parks, has been turned down by Southwark on design grounds. The Council considered that the scheme did nothing to maintain or enhance the character of the conservation area.
Unfortunately the petrol pumps have already been removed - their retention is not a planning matter, and the site is being used as a car park for cars waiting to be serviced.
There has been a recent application to Southwark to demolish an existing 1950s house in Frank Dixon Way and replace it with a larger mock- Georgian style house. The architectural character of the road has always been medium sized detached houses on relatively wide plots. Over the years many houses have been extended but generally in such a way that the overall appearance has been preserved. While the Society is not against demolition in principle it is concerned that the new house will be much larger (to justify the costs of the site) and that this will impact upon the open character of the area. The society has objected to the current application.
The spate of residents carrying out unauthorised works on their properties, particularly to hard standings, continues. The latest problems have been in Red Post Hill, where the garden walls that protected the listed village mile post have been removed leaving it exposed and a prime target for reversing cars.
There was no response to the note in the last magazine about the growing problem of the impact of the green and brown dustbins on front gardens. Are residents generally happy with the visual clutter caused? Are they happy to trip over the bins left on the pavement? Do they not consider that there may be a better way?
In association with Margaret McConnell, the Dulwich Society has provided a fine wooden bench-seat in memory of the late Brian McConnell QGM, the erstwhile editor of this Newsletter and distinguished Fleet Street journalist who died aged 75 in July 2004. The inscribed seat is located outside the College Road Gate of Dulwich Park.