The Dulwich Estate replies to questions raised in our last issue

In the Summer edition of the Journal, Ian McInnes raised a number of issues which involved The Dulwich Estate.  We are grateful to Mr David Sizer, Chairman of the Trustees in addressing these issues.

In reply to the question of involvement by the Estate under the Scheme of Management, concerning the increasing number of basement developments, he says:
It is not open to the Trustees to change the Rules of the Scheme unilaterally although as Managers they do publish the Guidelines which are reviewed from time to time in order to reflect changing circumstances, modern materials and such like.   The Guidelines for solar panels are, as many may be aware, currently under review to bring them up to date.  It is the Rule of the Scheme that sets out [and thereby limits] the  Managers’ power  to control alteration to the external appearance of any building or structure on a property visible at ground level from beyond the boundaries of the same [paragraph 3.(a)].    Given the clarity of this wording, there is no scope for interpretation – basements which are not visible at ground level do not require consent pursuant to the rules of the Scheme of Management.

In response to the matter of a pedestrian crossing in Dulwich Village, Mr Sizer replies:
The Estate has never been unwilling to compromise with Southwark Council.  I should perhaps first explain (for the benefit of readers) that the Council commenced the installation of the crossing without reference to the Estate which happens to own the piece of land enclosed by the posts and chains.  When the Council was made aware that it does not own the strip of land, the Estate offered several proposals for it to be able to secure access to this land,  but the Council insisted that it be granted a lease for 50 years in return for a nominal lump sum.  As a charity, the Estate could not agree to this as it would have been in breach of the requirements under section 36 of the Charities Act 1993 (which prohibits the disposal of an interest in land at less than fair value), and no doubt the beneficiaries of the Estate would have had something to say as well.

Concerning the delay in opening empty shop, he explains:
A minor alteration to create a bin store at the side of 91 Dulwich Village (formerly occupied by Oddbins) was refused planning consent by the Community Council, even though our application had the support of the Planning Officer at Southwark Council.  The premises have therefore had to remain vacant for the past six months despite having a prospective tenant who wishes to open a bakery.  We appealed the decision and also submitted a revised application which, we are pleased to note, has now been granted planning approval.

In reply to the lack of progress on the Crown & Greyhound conversion into a hotel, he says:
The Estate submitted a planning application towards the end of last year (having consulted with residents) but in the interim Southwark Council appointed a new Conservation Officer who has requested changes to the scheme.  As a consequence, the plans have had to be amended, but we are now told these meet the new Officer’s requirements and a new planning application will be submitted by the end of the month. 

Regarding the former Dairy Site in Croxted Road, he states:
We share your view that Lambeth Council’s reasons for refusing our second application for planning consent (to create commercial units with flats above) are somewhat spurious.  We have revised the proposals for the site which now include the provision of a new doctors’ surgery and we trust that the Council’s planners will look favourably on our third application, particularly in the light of changes introduced by the National Planning Policy Framework. The Estate is keen to put this derelict site back into productive use.

Lastly, regarding the new layout at the Tollgate, Mr Sizer says:
The changes to the layout of the Tollgate were made on advice received from our traffic consultants and were designed to improve the safe passage of cyclists.  We are aware of instances of the width restrictor being damaged and we are monitoring this situation closely.