Dulwich Residents’ Association GM Minutes – 9th March 2020

Dulwich RA general meeting – 9 March 2020 – MINUTES

Location- Crown and Greyhound PH Dulwich Village at 19:00 hours

Apologies: Rose Bagley, Brian and Genevieve Gosschalk, Gillian Kerr, Moyra Horseman, Dawn Taylor.

Present: Patricia Miller, Noel and Caroline Annesley, Patricia Brown, Howard Jennings, Jennifer Brunicki, John Horseman, Sarah Arthur, Sophie and Gareth Hudd, David and Pat Varney, Sue and Martin Fish, Vivian Bazalgette, Katherine St John Brooks, Mishal Al Sabah, Jane and David Oram, Frank Laughton, Brenda and Tom Wells, Jean Howell, Michael Poole-Wilson, Terry South, Ben Gee, Carol Rates. Visitor: Charles Pilling (Pickwick Road)

Officers: Clive Rates (Chair), Bridget Furst (Vice Chair), Jane Lyons (committee) Lindsay Rosser (secretary)

The Chair opened the meeting by thanking everyone for coming and introducing the officers of the RA.

 He spoke further:

“We are here this to evening discuss, debate and hopefully agree a position on Southwark’s healthy streets proposals, specifically as regards the impact on our streets Dulwich Village and College Road (north of the A205).

As I said in the e-mail I sent out yesterday, it’s really important that we make our voice heard with Southwark so they take account of our interests as they fine-tune the scheme. If we can show that our Residents’ Association’s view really is backed by concerned and engaged residents, then that voice will carry a lot more weight.

There is a wider debate about the equity of the scheme – specifically the fairness of displacing traffic onto our neighbours in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich Grove etc. – which we are all very alive to but which is not today’s topic.

The scheme may yet be derailed by the wider consultation, or TFL, or someone else.

For today, and to make progress, we need to assume the scheme is going ahead in some form and work out how to protect our interests.

Hopefully everyone has a reasonable understanding of what’s proposed under the healthy streets plans

I will take a few minutes to go through the background and where we are now

The scheme’s aims – which we should always keep in mind – are to reduce through traffic, especially during peak hours, to encourage more walking and cycling and better air, and improve safety at the village junction

In summary, Southwark plan to close the Dulwich Village/ Court Lane/ Calton Avenue junction. They think this junction is dangerous, overloaded and incapable of being adapted to work properly.

Recognising that this will likely lead to through traffic being shifted into the western part of Dulwich, they have proposed measures to discourage this.

These are principally the closure of Burbage Road at the Stradella junction, and installing ‘peak time’ northbound permit only access restrictions at the south ends of Dulwich Village and Burbage Road

Southwark have made clear that all residents would get permits, and that there would be dispensations for carers and taxis needed for mobility reasons – details to be worked out

For us, the most obvious potential impact of the scheme is to leave our roads as the only ‘short cut’ through Dulwich Village, which could then absorb through traffic which would otherwise have used Court Lane, Calton Avenue or Burbage Road. This is why Southwark have proposed the peak time northbound restrictions, to partially protect us from this effect

However, our concern from the beginning has been that Southwark may, when push comes to shove, view our streets as expendable, able to absorb additional traffic – and therefore pollution – if it is necessary to make the other components of the scheme work.

We are not traffic experts, and Southwark have not yet done traffic modelling on this scheme. We want to make sure that we are not exposed to ‘wishful thinking’ by Southwark.

According to Southwark our roads are classified by TFL as ‘distributor roads’. This means that they cannot be entirely closed to through traffic or turned into ‘school streets’. In particular, it means there cannot be a Southbound restriction alongside the proposed Northbound restriction.

Southwark’s view is that the scheme would reduce ‘net’ traffic on our roads – ie. the sum of northbound and southbound traffic and would lead to southbound traffic flowing more smoothly due to a simplified village junction. We have pressed them on the implications for southbound traffic, and they have said that at this stage it is ‘hard to say’ what the impact would be.

Our committee view is that regardless of our various views as to the wider pros and cons of the scheme, we need to try to make sure that if it is implemented, our streets benefit from the scheme, and build in some protections for our streets to make sure that we are not exposed to ‘unintended consequences’ such as a build-up of traffic.

The most obvious protection would be a southbound restriction, but Southwark have categorically ruled this out. Southwark have said they are ‘open to suggestions’ as to how the scheme can be modified, but in practice it is very hard to come up with any suggestion which they do not immediately rule out for some technical reason or other.

We therefore think that the best route may be for us may be, with your agreement, firstly to highlight our residents’ concerns to Southwark and press them to optimise the scheme to take into account these concerns.

Secondly, we propose to try to agree ‘target’ traffic volumes and pollution levels to be monitored after the scheme is implemented, and to this end, we have drafted a motion which you should have a copy of.

Let’s move to a discussion of the scheme and come back to the motion, if this is  something we collectively feel would be useful to help our position with Southwark.”

In the ensuing discussion, numerous doubts and concerns about the proposals were voiced. These included

  • how the permit scheme would operate
  • the “permeable” closures and the increase in travel times these would have on local journeys
  • it was unacceptable for road closures to be irreversible; they should be trialled.
  • the lack of coordination between this scheme and other local schemes
  • the lack of coordination between Lambeth and Southwark boroughs especially in a border area such as Dulwich
  • doubts as to the nature, terms and efficacy of traffic modelling, the results of which should be published
  • queries as to benchmarks to be used.
  • the unique situation of Dulwich Village with its concentration of schools and varying traffic flows with school holidays, makes it an atypical venue as a location for a new road management scheme intended to be exemplary
  • queries as to the effect on the Picture Gallery
  • queries as to the effect on the primary schools located on Dulwich Village, the Infants school in particular
  • Concerns as to what Plan B would be if the proposals were a failure.

The Chairman suggested a draft motion to be put to the Council, which was then discussed and put to the vote. The motion was passed unanimously.. 

The approved motion is as follows:

Healthy Streets Motion 9/3/2020

We, the Dulwich Village, College Road and Woodyard Lane Residents Association, fully support the aims of Southwark’s Health Streets Scheme for Dulwich, in particular the goal of reducing through traffic and air pollution and encouraging walking and cycling.  However, we are concerned about through traffic and pollution levels on Dulwich Village (road, comprising the roads Dulwich Village North and Dulwich Village South, meeting at the junction with Turney Road), and College Road (College Road in this case is the part of the road north of Dulwich Common; together with Dulwich Village North and Dulwich Village South, “Our Roads”) after the Healthy Streets scheme is implemented, in particular arising from southbound through traffic which will be unrestricted at all times including peak times.  We feel that Our Streets, which include large numbers of residents, three schools and many walking and cycling schoolchildren as well as pedestrians walking to Dulwich Park and Dulwich Picture Gallery, should also benefit from the goals of the Healthy Streets scheme, in particular the reduction of through traffic and air pollution.  We therefore call upon Southwark to:
1)    Include in the scheme design any additional modifications which are possible and which would have the effect of reducing through traffic, particularly southbound through traffic, along Our Roads (subject to consultation with our residents association over specific modifications)

2)    Not agree to any other modifications or additions to any other parts of the scheme which would or could have the effect of increasing through traffic on any of Our Roads

3)    Proceed with the scheme in its current form only if the traffic modelling which is performed in due course shows, on a statistically valid, like-for-like basis:
a)    at least a significant (10%+) reduction in ‘net’ (northbound plus southbound) weekday traffic (both 24hr and AM/PM peak time) on each of Our Roads; AND
b)    no material (5%+) increase in southbound weekday traffic (24hr OR AM/PM peak time) on any of Our Roads; AND
c)    a material projected decrease in pollution on each of Our Roads, at a minimum to within applicable legal limits

4)    Work with our Committee to agree targets for traffic levels and air pollution for after the scheme is implemented, in line with those set out in clause 3) above, which will then be monitored by Southwark, who should undertake to implement appropriate mitigation measures if the targets have not been met, to ensure that the targets are then met within one year of the scheme’s implementation

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