The Society held a public meeting at the Crown and Greyhound on the 18 March to discuss the future of Dulwich’s green spaces.

“The thin end of the wedge?”

Residents in Dulwich have been very concerned over recent planning decisions where even Metropolitan Open Land status has not been enough to protect our green open spaces. But what is the real threat to our green spaces? Will recent planning decisions lead to new developments overrunning our green space?

The Society looked at 25 open spaces and sports fields managed by the schools, charities, trusts and Southwark/Lambeth in the immediate Dulwich area + 15 other spaces, pocket parks and wooded areas. Our research revealed that for the most part the sports fields are very well maintained and heavily utilised with hundreds of user groups from across Dulwich and from other parts of the borough. Several clubs are fund raising to enhance their clubhouses and improve their sporting facilities. The research has not revealed major concerns about the viability of most local sports grounds which is gratifying nor does there appear to be widespread concern over the likelihood of future developments on these spaces, which will be a relief to many, although it does not undo the precedent set by a recent planning decision.

The Dulwich Society held a public meeting in March to present these findings and discuss the future of Dulwich’s sports ground and open spaces.

There is clearly a need to continue to monitor this issue and it was suggested that the Society consider setting up a ‘green spaces’ group to bring the various clubs and charities who run them together - to share knowledge and work to maximise the use of the grounds. Already several chairs of local sports clubs have expressed an interest in getting involved in the group to share knowledge and expertise. Reducing the impact of poor weather conditions and flooding to extend the usage of the facilities is one such issue. Other points at the meeting for the group to consider:

  • How can we as a community help the handful of clubs/grounds that are struggling? Should we get more actively involved and do more to promote usage, identify potential grants and raise funds? The Velodrome provides a good community model.
  • State schools are receiving additional funding for sports - but are they making use of our facilities, and can the group help match up supply and demand?
  • What barriers are there to full usage - restrictive lease conditions, high rents?
  • Should we look at registering spaces as Community Assets under a Neighbourhood Plan?
  • Campaign for planning powers to be returned to the local community council to enable our own councillors to make the decisions.

 If you are concerned about this issue and might wish to join a Green Spaces Group please contact the chairman at:
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Susan Badman

Burbage Road Nature Garden

The Dulwich Society Wildlife Group planted some 100 native hedgerow species ‘whips’ on the Burbage Road plot belonging to Alleyn’s Sports Club on 29th March with the help from London Wildlife Trust volunteers. We were able to complete the first stage of this project by planting a hedge around the perimeter fences of the garden. It is the intention to complete the planting in the Autumn. We have in mind planting honeysuckle against the brick wall and creating more interesting ground cover by introducing wildflowers. The Dulwich Society has funded the first stage of this project - £220 - and we shall apply for further funding from the Dulwich Community Council later in the year.

Dulwich and Herne Hill Flood Alleviation Scheme

Under the scheme it is proposed to lower the water level of the lake in Dulwich Park to accommodate flood water. The Wildlife Group raised concern that this could adversely affect wildlife, as the lake is not very deep and it is not known what the minimum water level should be. They have therefore, together with Dulwich Park Friends, urged Southwark Council to commission an Ecology Report from the Wildlife and Wetland Trust. The survey has since been carried out, and we have been assured that any recommendations will be carried out.

Herne Hill Velodrome

The Velodrome Trust and its architects for the replacement of the 1890s Pavilion are examining the results of the current pre-application local consultation. They expect to apply for Planning Consent in time to begin work on site by the end of 2014 and to complete the work by the summer of 2015. The current scheme will not require a second entrance. Local residents are being kept informed on progress.

Gallery Road

(1) The Community Council has agreed to fund out of CGS funds a raised pedestrian crossing near the western end of Lovers’ Walk.
(2) Again using CGS funds, the pedestrian refuge island at the eastern end of Burbage Road is to be replaced during this summer.

The Traffic and Transport committee is also pursuing the possibility of a walking and cycling path from Burbage Road to Dulwich Village through the Velodrome and Griffin sites. The first stage of a study of the practical feasibility of this was a topographical survey. Local residents are being kept informed about this proposal

Dates for your Diary

Bats, Buildings and Bubbly!

On Tuesday 9th September The Dulwich Society’s Wildlife and Local History Groups are holding a joint evening at the Dulwich & Sydenham Golf Club. Drinks will be served at 6pm and the opportunity will be taken to view the valley of Dulwich from the Club’s balcony which enjoys a superb aspect towards London. Brian Green will talk about the history of view points which can be seen. Following this talk, there will be a guided walk conducted in several groups into the woods by wildlife experts to identify birds, wildlife and plants and to view the restored Dewy Pond. Good footwear is recommended.
In the event of bad weather both talks will be held inside the Clubhouse, with illustrations. The event is free but numbers will be limited. Tickets will be issue on a first come first served basis. Please send a s.a.e to Patrick Spencer, 7 Pond Cottages, SE21 7LE stating if one or two tickets are required.

Trees Group Visit

The Trees Group hopes to visit Kew Gardens on Wednesday 24th September, arriving by Public Transport. We will then use their 'Train' for the 35 minute journey. We will have as Guide an arborealist, particularly to see their Zelkovas and indicate other trees of particular interest, eg their Wollumi Pine (new discovery).

We may possibly also see KEW PALACE, (which shuts end of September). At our leisure we can then use the 'Train' Hop on - Hop off service. The event and cost is yet to be confirmed. Please ring JiIl Manuel with any queries tel: 8693 0256
Dulwich Community Hospital

Dulwich residents who attended the Dulwich Community Council meeting in March were very unhappy to hear about the slow progress on the redevelopment of the Dulwich Community Hospital site. The Regional Disposal lead for the NHS Property Company who are the current owners of the site, told the meeting that his organisation had now gone out to consultation to a GLA panel of developers for advice on the best location on the site for the proposed health facility - with regard to maximising the development potential for the remainder of the site. The meeting was extremely unhappy and reminded him, and officers from the Southwark CCG who were also there, that the site was seen as an asset to the community, and should be used to provide local facilities such as a new school, and not just as a cash cow for housing developers. Both councillors and members of the audience repeatedly asked to see a copy of the brief given to the developers' panel - the response was less than helpful.

Further discussion confirmed that the time scale had still not been determined and that wide public consultation on the future of the site did not appear to feature in the NHS Property Company’s programme.

There is clearly a potential danger that there will be no new community facilities on the site other than the health facility - is this acceptable to residents? Surely not.