Meet David Roberts – chairman of the Planning and Architecture Committee

David has been chairman of the group since 2006 and since then he has attended most of the appraisals of applications for Dulwich house extensions and alterations in his capacity as representing the Dulwich Society, one of the appointed bodies in connexion with Dulwich’s Scheme of Management.

An architect by profession, he joined the Society at the time it was making preparations to raise the statue of Edward Alleyn and was interested in its aims and its role in the Scheme of Management which allowed the Society to comment on building applications. Another influence was the visit he had made several years earlier to see the timber–frame cottage in Sussex where he and his sister had grown up and was horrified to find all the surrounding trees chopped down, the grass paved over and a swimming pool installed, the perimeter of which was surrounded by unrendered concrete blocks. He was moved to help avoid such brutal actions in Dulwich.

A modernist, he is nevertheless interested in vernacular architecture with a preference for the use of brick.’ He has long experience in large and small-scale projects, sometimes with housing associations and has overseen refurbishment and conversions in Camden as well as major works for universities, medical facilities and fire-stations. He prefers social architecture and working to solve issues on a non-confrontational basis.

He is assisted in the appraisal of the 200 proposals usually received every year under the Scheme of Management, by other members of his committee. This includes a second architect, two experienced planners, a chartered builder and two laymen with local knowledge. The committee, which has no contact with the Dulwich Estate, meets monthly to consider applications and will give reasons for any objections or offer suggestions where a change might be made which would be better received. Generally speaking there are now far fewer cases where objections are raised. The committee will comment on basements, front garden landscaping and rear garden structures as well as external work and how well proposals fit in with the existing streetscape.