The Society facilitated a very successful meeting at the Methodist Church Hall on Half Moon Lane on 12th January. The main purpose of the meeting was for residents to tell the Council how they thought a more ‘liveable’ Dulwich could be achieved and also listen to how the Council’s current and upcoming policies might impact on the area. Going forward, the aim was to start a dialogue with Southwark, building on the holistic traffic management plan produced as part of the Village junction works, to work together to make Dulwich a better place for everyone, residents, traders and visitors but, most importantly, for our children.

Over 120 people attended to hear short presentations from local MP Helen Hayes, Richard Livingstone, Southwark’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport Management and Air Quality, Village Ward Councillors Margy Newens and Richard Leeming, Dr Helen Ward, an expert on the impact of traffic generated pollution on school children, and local resident, Henrietta Collier, who described the implementation of the recent trial street closure experiment outside Bessemer Grange School. There was a wide variety of questions from the floor and Councillors encouraged local residents to put forward ideas for consideration in next year’s Local Implementation Plan.

Local Residents Associations and all those who attended, and left their contact details, will have received a follow up email with the notes of the meeting, and there is more information on the Society’s website. Below is a short summary of some of the main points raised:

Pollution: A number of speakers noted the Increasing volume of traffic pre and post school hours - several of the Council’s most polluted roads are in the Dulwich area - Dulwich Wood Park, Barry Road and Forest Hill Road. The Council’s Air Quality Action Plan plans to target these roads but another option might be to introduce some traffic calming by blocking off some of the roads used as commuter short cuts - like they have in some areas of East Dulwich.

How do we reduce pollution outside our schools? The Bessemer Grange street closure experiment is a great start but we need to do more. While the new route for the Foundation School coaches has been agreed, it has not been implemented, and how do we stop school coaches parking with their engines idling? This is illegal and the council and police should be more pro-active on enforcement. The 20mph speed limit should also be properly enforced, and we need to consider the likely impact of the Mayor of London’s planned ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) which, as currently planned, will split our community in half in 2021, as its border will run along the South Circular.

Parking: Weekday parking by both commuters and long-stay parkers is increasing, reducing the available amount of resident parking. They are not using local businesses and they are preventing many local residents from doing so - how can it be controlled so that residents can park near their homes and by the shops? The Council are currently consulting on its ‘movement plan’ and have just started consultation on a proposed controlled parking zone in East Dulwich. There is also a CPZ about to be introduced in Champion Hill, and Lambeth are also considering one in Croxted Road. These will impact on the Village and, while there are divergent views on them, Councillors reiterated that they were cost/revenue neutral and only introduced where a majority of residents wanted them.

Public transport & Green vehicles: Better access to our stations should be a priority and bus frequency through the Village should be improved, the P4 needs to be more regular and a rerouting of the 201 could offer some benefits. The Council is installing more electric car charging posts in lamp posts but are they being used, and should they not have dedicated parking bays? We should also consider electric bicycles and, if the law changes, electric scooters, as alternatives.