In the last issue of the Journal we discussed the reduction in the CGS (Cleaner-Green-Safer) grants made by the Dulwich Community Council as part of Southwark Council’s cost cutting. Another piece of information has now come to light concerning cuts, this time to neighbourhood policing. The three wards which make up Dulwich (College, Village and East Dulwich) are to lose the services of one of the three sergeants, each responsible for the policing of a ward. College Ward will retain its sergeant but Village Ward and East Dulwich Wards will share the services of a police sergeant. The number of constables and PCSO’s (Police Community Support Officers) will remain the same in each ward.

On 15th September we will hear what cuts are likely to be made at Dulwich’s libraries. * At present the main Library is at 368 Lordship Lane, which is pictured on the cover of this Journal. Smaller, neighbourhood libraries are situated at Kingswood House and Grove Vale. Dulwich Library is used extensively for private study, internet access and is a very busy lending library. The two other libraries have heavily used juvenile sections. We have got used to longer opening hours of our libraries, including Sunday opening. 

We have also got used to better maintained public parks, and in this Dulwich has done remarkably well, winning National Lottery funding for improvements to both Dulwich and neighbouring Peckham parks. The maintenance appears to be good and extensive new play apparatus both for children and adults has been provided. As a consequence our parks are very heavily used. We might all wish to see even more improvement but we should be pleased with what we have got. Will cut-backs in Council funding deliver us back into the bad old days of the recent past?

Compared with other London councils, Southwark has had a good record for house refuse collection and street cleaning and is prompt to deal with fly-tipping and the removal of graffiti. It will collect, free of charge, by special arrangement, larger unwanted household items and furniture. Unlike nearby boroughs such as Bromley, we have the very useful wheelie bin. We have not heard if these services are to be affected, but the appearance of a neighbourhood can deteriorate very quickly if this essential service is reduced.

So where the cuts might be made? With one voice Dulwich is likely to say - “in road improvements!” Such ’improvements’ as there have been are of dubious value; a lady cyclist was seriously injured at the new roundabout in the Village a few weeks ago, the speed humps on Red Post Hill are to be removed at a cost of £40,000 (plus VAT) because traffic thumping over them is affecting house foundations. My grandmother would certainly have made cuts into this budget. Yet we learn that Transport for London’s budget on roadworks is protected.

Yes, we do want winter’s ravages to road surfaces made good, we do want holes in pavements (usually left by service providers anxious to reduce their own costs) filled in. Yes we do like the lovely floral plots around the new improvements, but we could live without them.

*The Future of Dulwich Libraries will be one of the items on the agenda at the Dulwich Community Council Meeting to be held on 15 September at Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane SE22 at 7pm. Be there!