Thameslink services

The Thameslink Wimbledon train loop has been saved and through trains will continue to run direct from Herne Hill to St Pancras. Passengers travelling to central London on the Wimbledon Loop had faced the prospect of having to change trains at Blackfriars Station from 2018 under proposals put forward under the Thameslink Programme. However, after extensive consultation with stakeholders and local rail users, the Department for Transport has worked closely with Network Rail to make sure the route continues to operate as part of Thameslink’s core services.

This is fantastic news. Everyone who campaigned for the retention of the direct service, wrote letters and responded to the consultation is to be congratulated. There were 3,500 responses to the consultation and 2,200 in favour of retaining the route so your letters and responses made a difference.

Full details of the announcement are at:

Famous Pub Closes

A local pub appears to have closed permanently. The Grove aka The Harvester, situated at the corner of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane claimed to have had an electrical fire in its cellar several months ago and the Dulwich Estate as landlord has assured the Dulwich Society that the pub will re-open. However, no work appears to have been done, the windows remain boarded up and the entire affair appears clouded with doubt as to the long term future of the premises. With the pub comes a very large car park and garden and is of course in a prime residential development location.

Councillor Lewis Robinson is particularly upset and comments “Since the pub closed, it has been squatted twice and the car park flytipped on a number of occasions – I have reported this to both the landlord and the council. I have worked hard to make a number of improvements to this part of Lordship Lane, such as refurbishing the war memorial in St Peter’s churchyard and shop front improvements across the road, and it is so disappointing to see The Grove in its current condition”.

The Dulwich Society has also done a great deal to improve this corner of Dulwich. Largely through the efforts of David Roberts and with a considerable donation from the Society, the fencing in front of the Marlborough Cricket Club has been replaced, new gates provided for Cox’s Walk, support given to the restoration of The Concrete House and negotiations opened between The Deeper Life Bible Church (formerly St Peter’s) and the Society over the restoration of the church wall and the Listed hall.
If, as likely, the fire at the Grove is to be used as a pretext for demolition and redevelopment, the Dulwich Society will want to be involved in what is to replace the pub in this key part of Dulwich.

Meanwhile, in Dulwich Village, the plans to convert the Crown & Greyhound into a boutique hotel grind on increasingly slowly.

Bin City

We have now had wheelie bins for some years. Well yes admittedly, we have not had blue and brown ones for so long but…..we have quickly grown to appreciate them. The service by Southwark Council is efficient. Recycling becomes easier for us, we can get rid of garden waste easily and even dump unwanted paraphernalia in the original green bin. But they can be an eyesore. If you live in house with a side entrance you have no problem. If however you live in a terraced house there is nowhere to put your bins except in the front garden where they reside in tri-coloured prominence. Those residents who have paid large sums to have their front gardens reorganised by a garden designer now have the indignity of having the result obscured by their refuse bins.

It is surprising that so far, little ingenuity has been employed to disguise their presence, or are residents sticking to the old architectural adage – if you can’t hide it, then emphasise it?

Kingswood House

Southwark Council is short of funds and, as part of a financial review, it is looking at the future viability of the community centre at Kingswood House. A public consultation open day was held last November to examine four proposals for a way forward.

All the options involve retaining community uses, including a library, on the ground floor with ancillary accommodation in the basement. The two upper floors could either be small offices and meeting rooms for local businesses, studios for cultural uses such as dance and painting, private residential apartments, or student accommodation. The building is Grade II listed and both the third and fourth options will involve substantial changes to the interior.

The problem for Southwark is that a large sum needs to be spent on roof repair and/or replacement and it is looking for a commercial scheme that would generate sufficient revenue to pay for it. The difficulty over the building is that it is located on the Kingswood Estate and access and parking are difficult.

The Dulwich Society is not averse to some change but cannot really see an option that would provide sufficient funds and leave the building’s interior intact.