Re: The Zelkova tree
This is a short note regarding my thoughts on the recently pollarded Zelkova tree.
The tree is particularly unsightly especially when travelling along the South Circular in a westerly direction; it stands out as an eyesore amongst some fine trees with natural shapes from which it detracts.
The argument that the tree will re-generate growth in the Spring is probably correct, however, it will always appear very odd as a very large trunk with some dense foliage somewhat ‘mop headed’, and bearing no resemblance to the very tall specimen which once existed. Every Autumn the leaves will fall and the pollarded appearance will once again be an eyesore through to the following Spring. Regular pollarding will also be required as the trunk is still leaning at an acute angle.
I am therefore of the opinion that from a landscape and amenity point of view the tree should be removed together with the roots, a replacement Zelkova should be planted in the winter months at a height of some 6.00-7.00 metres.
I was delighted to see a communication from The Dulwich Estate with this year’s fee notice and read it expecting to hear all about how the Scheme of Management is spending our money wisely to improve the amenity of Dulwich.
Instead I read a rather tetchy defence of the Charity’s rent and lease renewals policy including a personal attack on the local postmaster for daring to challenge the Estate and ‘whip up public support’. Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of this particular case, I was deeply troubled by the bulletin for several reasons.
It is of concern when a body with considerable powers conducts its battles with individuals and their supporters in public and in print. Residents and tenants with quite legitimate challenges against the Dulwich Estate could be deterred from mounting future campaigns for fear they too will be named and shamed in this bulletin with no means to reply.
This newsletter was sent out with the Scheme of Management’s fee notices. It was quite right of Ms Brownbill, the Chair of the Estate’s Trustees, both at the consultation meeting with residents last year and in this newsletter, to draw our attention to the distinct roles and separate legal and financial responsibilities of the Charity and The Scheme of Management. However, the perception of separate function is somewhat undermined by the publication of this joint bulletin. If, as Ms Brownbill argues, the Charity has no relationship with the residents and no duty to keep us informed, why is it issuing PR to residents via The Scheme of Management’s fee collection database? Tempting as it must be for the Charity to take advantage of this readily accessible and extensive database to publish its own views and counter its critics, one wonders if this is a proper use of our personal records and of the Charity/Scheme funds.
Despite all the talk by trustees of a clear separation of legal interests and duties, does this bulletin suggest they are a little muddled themselves about the differing roles, functions and limits to power of the two parts of the Estate?
150 Burbage Road, SE21 7AG
I totally disagree with the suggestion by Beth Christian that the Old Burial Ground in the Village should be opened to the public. It is at present a pleasant green oasis with several splendid trees which everyone walking past can enjoy. It is too small to be open to the public, the bulbs would not survive, the grass would be worn away and litter would accumulate. Dulwich residents are not short of open space and this adds enormously to the charm of the Village, nor do I think it appropriate that graves should be climbed on.
Dovercourt Road SE22
Many visitors to the vegetable and fruit garden in the Griffin Ground in Dulwich Village will be as surprised as I was that after twelve years creating this project, on October 8th I was given notice by King’s College to quit by the end of the year.
The reason given was that the lessees, King's College, had been made aware by The Dulwich Estates that I had been breaking the term of the lease by having an allotment there and now that the lease was due for renewal, it was necessary for this activity to cease.
I felt there was nothing I could do about this, but I wrote to the Estates for clarification and confirmation. The reply from the Estates was that it was up to King’s to apply for permission for the project to continue. They did not commit themselves as to whether they would give permission or not.
I should explain how this allotment came about in the first place. The Ground Manager, Mr Terry Delaney, had suggested to me in April 1998, that I might like to take over an allotment he had started but felt unable to continue with, when he knew I was loosing another site adjacent to 12 Roseway and the Village School.
I was happy to do this, and this has led to twelve productive and enjoyable years. The Garden has been open annually to the Dulwich Society Gardening group and to anyone interested in the "Grow Your Own" movement. I am helped by volunteer workers from the neighbourhood and, more recently, by a group of students from Kings College.
It was my hope that the Kings students would take over the activity completely and that I would retire by the end of 2012.
However, I have found that this is not really a practical answer as the students have not really been able to give the consistent effort that is necessary. They have long holidays as and cannot come regularly during the term time, in spite of giving valuable help.
I had really given up hope of the garden continuing until a suggestion was made that Dulwich Hamlet School might perhaps take over the project as a teaching aid, perhaps with a Teachers, Parents, Pupils co- operative (or something similar). The school already uses the ground for recreational purposes
I should make it as clear as I possibly can, that at 83, though still in good health, I am absolutely ready to hand over the allotment, especially as Terry Delaney who has been so helpful has recently retired. My great concern is that the entire gardening infrastructure which has been built up on the site over the years should go to waste. I am thinking of the fruit trees, the semi-permanent crops - vines, rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries, currants etc. And then there are the water tanks, composting facilities all constructed with considerable effort. To destroy all this created on what was formerly waste ground seems to me to be little short of vandalism. I do hope that a constructive solution will be found.