Southwark Cabinet Meeting – 20th October 2020

Our Chairman, Clive Rates,  was called to speak at the Cabinet meeting on 20th October 2020, along with the petitioner and ‘Clean Air for Dulwich’.  You can see the various speeches and council response here (first item):

Our speech is set out below.

The Cabinet Member for Leisure, Environment & Roads, Catherine Rose (<>) spoke in response, and to set out Southwark’s current position.  In summary, they seem alive to the issues which have arisen and will arise, and have in mind a significant programme of monitoring and engagement, with the possibility of changing and amending the plans in real time in response to ‘feedback, suggestions and alternative ideas’.  They are also planning to work more actively with school leadership teams, recognising the demands that the schools put on the local transport networks.

We do not yet have a date for when the next round of camera restrictions will ‘go live’.  Note that while the published notices talk about the Experimental Orders coming into force on 22 October 2020, it seems that this is a legal date to set the clock ticking on the 6 month consultation period, rather than a date they will physically be up and running.

As always, we welcome feedback from all members as this situation develops.  There will be an opportunity at the forthcoming AGM (3 November) for a broader discussion on this topic.

Dulwich Village RA speech to Southwark Cabinet meeting 20 October 2020

Council leader, Cabinet members, thanks for calling our delegation to speak.  Our residents association represent the roads running north/ south through the centre of Dulwich ward – principally Dulwich Village road and College Road north of the A205.
Our delegation today is 3 committee members and 3 concerned residents representing the south, middle and north of our streets.  Our submission is based on a large number of conversations with our residents, and we believe it fairly represents the balance of their views as well as our own though it has not yet been formally put to a vote.
We support Southwark’s stated aim of reducing through traffic, reducing pollution and making the streets safer for walking and cycling.  We think the steps taken should be fair and proportionate and should be realistic about the effects on our residents, local businesses and on our neighbours.
We questioned the original Village junction closure back in June because we anticipated the chain of events it would set in motion.  Whilst it freed a very small area of all traffic, it has created a lot of displacement, in particular onto Dulwich Village road, and we have many first-hand accounts of the hardship this has caused.  Given this we think Southwark are right to be implementing a restriction on Dulwich Village road to relieve the residents and schools on that road of at least some of this displaced traffic.
However, when we take Southwark’s past and future measures together, we do have concerns as to where they will leave our community.
Firstly, Dulwich will remain divided.  The historic connection between the eastern side of the ward and the western side has been broken by the junction closure, and many of our residents feel this very deeply.  Neighbours who help each other with hospital visits and the like are no longer able to do so or face significant disruption.  Emergency vehicles cannot cross the filter.
Secondly, the various forthcoming restrictions, welcome though they are given where we are, the junction having been closed, will create significant access issues for residents either leaving their homes by car, or getting back to their homes.  These access issues and concerns extend well beyond our residents, to our neighbours living in Burbage, Turney and other affected roads.
Thirdly, we are concerned for the health of our local businesses, given the lack of any provisions for access through the restrictions
Finally, again given the lack of any access provisions, the measures will displace local traffic as well as through traffic.  Whilst we accept that any effort to reduce through traffic will create some displacement, we feel that there is a duty to keep this to a minimum.
Regarding access, we want to be clear.  We are not ‘pro-car’.  However, it’s unreasonable to expect residents always to walk or cycle especially the elderly or infirm.  We also have no interest in creating a closed community in Dulwich.  We want a generous access policy which keeps Dulwich open to our neighbours and visitors from the wider community.
We suggest two amendments to the plans which we think together would get widespread support and ensure a sustainable future.
Firstly, we think that the Village Junction should be re-opened and instead, a westbound camera should be installed where Calton Avenue meets Dulwich Village road.
The combination of this restriction and the various other restrictions already proposed by Southwark would massively reduce traffic across the junction at peak times and thus render it safe for crossing and operable for traffic, as well as discouraging most northbound through traffic from travelling through the Village at peak times.
Opening the junction would allow traffic to flow more normally outside of the restricted hours, and thus get rid of round-the-clock displacement.  It is not at all clear to us why Southwark has taken a measure which has the effect of shutting a street such as Court Lane to through traffic, while at the same time effectively diverting traffic onto Dulwich Village road, a very similar sized road with both residences and schools.
The cameras in combination would ensure that Calton Avenue, in particular, is not subject to northbound or southbound through traffic – a big win given the heavy use of this street by walking and cycling school children.
Secondly, we think an access scheme should be implemented; we appreciate that it may not be possible to do this at the same time as the cameras go live, but we think it should be done as soon as possible thereafter.
There are a range of views as to how wide such a scheme should be but as a committee we would favour a scheme along the lines of that implemented in Hammersmith & Fulham, where access is granted to vehicles registered in Southwark.  This would make sure the scheme targets genuine through traffic only rather than local destination traffic, improving the outlook for local shops and restaurants, and minimising displacement to the streets around us.
We are aware that our Ward councillors have already made strenuous efforts to solve this topic, and we are very grateful to them for that.  However, we do feel that this issue is critical to the scheme’s success and sustainability, and we strongly urge the Cabinet to press officers to come up with a solution.
We hope that you will consider our proposals, which we think are key to winning the support of the local community.  In particular, we have shown our proposal to OneDulwich who have said that if the Council is prepared to discuss it further, they would be happy to take it back to their 1,700 supporters.
Thank you for hearing us out and we look forward to taking questions.

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