The Society has commented on the draft Supplementary Planning Guidance which is an adjunct to the new 2004 Southwark Unitary Development Plan, currently on its second draft and soon to go to public enquiry. Originally Southwark said that no special treatment was required in Dulwich but the Society and local councillors persuaded them to change their minds.
The document itself is fairly anodyne starting with 'The protection of Dulwich is important in maintaining the area's unique character. Careful application of planning policies is essential to ensure that the future development is appropriate to the area'. Its vision for Dulwich notes that it is important that the historic urban character of Dulwich area is maintained and enhanced to ensure Dulwich remains a pleasant place to live, work and visit. It goes on to say that the area should remain predominantly residential and also a focus for recreation.
It confirms that Dulwich is not an appropriate location for tall buildings and that there is little scope for large-scale development in Dulwich because of the Conservation Areas and the large areas of Metropolitan Open Land. It also acknowledges the potential contribution of the Dulwich Estate Scheme of Management.
One interesting point it introduces is a requirement for design statements for major extensions to existing buildings and all new buildings- this is a welcome move. Commercial developments will also require an access statement. It sets out criteria for new development on open spaces, particularly relevant after the debacle over Southwark's own planning application on the Herne Hill Cycle Track.
Overall the Society had little to say other than correct the many spelling mistakes and it looks forward to seeing the final draft.
Nearly all the Dulwich Schools have either just finished or are just about to start major building works. The Charter School refurbishment was completed a year ago and the major extension to Kingswood School earlier this year. Next door the Dulwich College Preparatory School is about to extend their swimming pool and some accommodation to the music centre and build a large new sports hall. The Society has no problem with the scheme in principle but is very concerned over the industrial appearance of the proposed sports hall. It has sent a written objection to Southwark council requesting that the design be improved.
The Prep School is also about to start work on the new kindergarten on Gallery Road. Again no objection in principle but the Society is concerned that no effort seems to have been made to rationalise the dangerous parking situation on Gallery Road at the beginning and the end of the day. While the work is ongoing the kindergarten will relocate temporarily across to the sports field opposite.
Not to be outdone Dulwich College has submitted a proposal for a major redevelopment on the site of their old swimming pool. The Society welcomes the scheme in principle but has some detail concerns over the design of the elevations and what impact there might be on the Christison Hall, art and workshop block, an important 1960s building that remains substantially in original condition.
Alleyn's School is also proposing to build a new theatre and performing arts block as part of a long-term master plan prepared by architects, Van Heyningen and Hayward, a firm well known for sensitive developments such as the Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre in Suffolk and the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building in Oxford. The Society considers the design to be of high quality.
Last but not least the former S G Smith garage in Alleyn Park is to become a nursery school. Although the Estate had consent for a residential scheme, the nursery is taking the whole site.
The draft document on the extension of the Dulwich Village Conservation Area was due out for public consultation at the end of October. The Society has seen a draft; the proposal follows that outlined at the public meeting held last year. The new boundary follows the railway line from North Dulwich Station down to Burbage and Turney Roads. There is some talk of extending it along East Dulwich Grove but it is unlikely to go beyond JAGS.
Fairfield, 9 Dulwich Village The original planning application for the proposed house in the garden at the rear of Fairfield was withdrawn earlier this year. A new application has now been submitted for a slightly smaller house with a grass roof to minimise its impact on views over the site from the surrounding houses in Gilkes Crescent. The Society is ambivalent. Some members directly affected by the development are unhappy but, on the other hand, with very few sites available in Dulwich, we must look to imaginative schemes to provide additional housing. We cannot stand still.
Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club - The Dulwich Society has objected to the Club's planning application to put up a large free-standing internally illuminated advertising sign facing the South Circular on the car park opposite the Harvester.
Dulwich Village Post office - It has come to the Dulwich Society's notice that the lease on the Post Office in the Village is due for renewal. The Post Office is an important amenity in the Village, especially with closure of the Post Office in Herne Hill. The Society has therefore asked the Estate to confirm that their negotiations with the existing occupier on a new lease will reflect the desirability of retaining Post Office as an essential part of the Village.
Former Unigate Dairy in South Croxted Road - This is a large site which is currently unused. The Society is aware that the Estate is preparing plans for a redevelopment and is hopeful that it might be used for a mix of accommodation including sheltered housing for older residents.
Ian McInnes, Chairman
Planning and Architecture Committee