Recent Street Crime

A Turney Road resident was recently robbed and school children have been targeted for robbery in Burbage Road.

Sadly a Turney Road resident was robbed on 21st November at 6.40pm on Croxted Road, near the garage. The robber took her handbag and ran into the Peabody Estate. The police responded very quickly but the attacker was not caught. We have also heard about (but have no details about) a number of muggings of school children, which took place at the Herne Hill end of Burbage Road in November.

Local Meeting regarding Changes to Police Provision, Thameslink Suspension and Primary School Places

The Herne Hill Forum Public meeting on 5th December will address concerns regarding local policing changes, the proposed Thameslink service suspension and primary school places.

The Herne Hill Forum Public meeting takes place on Wednesday, 5th December from 6.55pm at the Herne Hill Baptist Church (at the Corner of Half Moon Lane and Winterbrook Road). The meeting provides residents with the opportunity to hear and lobby our senior police representatives about the planned changes to local police provision (the loss of a local Police station in East Dulwich and the lack of ‘ring fencing’ of provision, which means that our teams can be diverted to local crime hotspots). Chief Superintendent Sutherland will be attend for Southwark (and Superintendent McLaren for Lambeth) to address public concerns about the planned changes to our police teams.

The meeting will also be attended by Val Shawcross (London Assembly Member for Southwark and Lambeth) who will talk about the suspension of the Thameslink through service beyond Blackfriars, and by Councillor Jim Dickson, who will be updating us on responses to residents’ concerns about Primary School Places.

Flood Risk Management

As the local lead authority for flood management, Southwark Council has a statutory responsibility to manage the flood risk in our area.  They are working closely with Thames Water and local stakeholders to identify investment opportunities to reduce the likelihood of flooding, primarily for surface water flooding to which this area is prone.   The most notable recent surface water flooding event was in April 2004.

Southwark has also launched community engagement initiatives to reduce the impact of flooding, and TRRA and BRRA have agreed to formulate a pilot community flood plan for our immediate area to reduce the impact of surface flooding.  A small team is working on this with support and we anticipate funding from the Greater London Authority.    The community plan will be communicated via our new web site and if it is successful it will be a model for elsewhere in Southwark and London.

In the meantime there is a need for all of us to be vigilant about the flood risk especially at this time of year with leaf fall.   Please ensure gullies and drains outside your house are clear to avoid pools of water in the street in times of heavy rain – this last happened on Sunday 4th November am.  Avoid blocking drains with vehicle wheels.   After the 2004 flood, the council installed extra gullies in the road and the gullies are subject to regular maintenance.   If you have any concerns about the gullies or leaf clearance please contact the Southwark Environment helpline on 020 7525 2000  but during a rainstorm it is quickest for us to clear the gullies ourselves.

In order to maximise chances of funding for major alleviation projects, Thames Water and Southwark are collating evidence about the impacts of flooding events in Dulwich and would be very pleased to receive copies of photos and reports from residents about the impact of the 2004 flood or any subsequent household drainage investigations.  If you are able to help, please let us know.

7 November Q&A with Police Borough Commander, Chief Sup John Sutherland

On 27 November we attended a Q&A with the Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent John Sutherland (JS) at the Dulwich Community Council. A number of key points were taken from the meeting.

1. Councillor questions focused on the future of the Seeley Drive base in Kingswood Estate, East Dulwich police station & the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs), and concerns about public confidence in local police & the consultation process.

2. The impact of widespread geography and poor transport links in Dulwich on policing were highlighted and councillors robustly reiterated the need for a police base serving Dulwich Village, East Dulwich and parts of the Peckham Rye ward.

3. JS insisted that he wants an “honest mature conversation” about changes in policing and said no decisions have been made about the future of frontline desks. The final decision about premises rests with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) who own the police estate.

4. The Met Police has to make over £540m savings by 2015. The vast majority of budget comprises salary and there will inevitably be consequences for employees as well as premises. The savings are non-negotiable and have to happen. The question is how – what are the best options to maintain frontline services?

5. JS said there were no plans to close down the Seeley Drive base. The lease runs to 2019 with a break clause at 2014. On further questioning, he said there was no plan to close it in 2014 and currently he would make a bid to retain it. JS said there was no point in retaining it if it’s not an operational base, and in his opinion it is operational and fit for purpose. The police teams will be physically based there (i.e. start and end shifts there) and while there are some constraints on space, it’s operational and properly fitted out with appropriate IT and security.

6. JS repeated earlier views of Met Police professionals that this is not the case with East Dulwich police station which is neither economically viable nor operationally necessary. Footfall is very low and it is not fit for purpose. It would need a major reinvestment to render it operable by modern standards and the reality is that it is likely to close.

7. Councillors raised the question of an alternative police base, possibly at the East Dulwich hospital but JS reminded that this was more complicated than it appears because of the overheads involved in fitting out a building to operate as an equipped secure police base.

8. The local policing model, the SNTs will remain and there is strong support for the SNTs.

9. The consultation on premises and policing proposal timetable is as follows:

  • London-wide briefing to senior stakeholders (MPs , Borough Chief Execs) to complete this week
  • MOPAC will collate feedback and input from 32 Borough Commanders and stakeholders to deliver a proposal by Christmas.
  • Public Consultation will start in January 2013.
  • MOPAC decision by end March 2013.

Safer Neighbourhoods

Burbage residents should have received a Neighbourhood Watch pack from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team over the weekend with important information about how to protect their home and its contents.   Some very good news: following lobbying from Burbage Neighbourhood Watch Representative, Andrew Fletcher, late night police patrols were instigated which led to the arrest of the prolific ‘car scratcher’ who has been troubling us for some time now. Sadly and with painful irony, it was Andrew’s own car that had just been vandalised when the culprit was caught red handed – very sorry to hear that Andrew.

Criminal scratching on a car bonnet
Andrew’s car!

Old Dairy Site, Croxted Road

Lambeth Council Planning Application  – 12/04235/FUL – Old Dairy Site, Croxted Road

The planning application for the redevelopment of the Old Dairy Site,  13-19 Croxted Road, London SE21 has opened on the Lambeth Council planning database at http://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MD80P7BO0AO00.   The consultation is due to end on 3 December 2012.  You will need to register if you wish to make a comment or track progress with this application.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a tax that councils are starting to charge on new developments in their area. The money raised is used to fund a ‘Project Bank’ which will pay for additional infrastructure that local community and neighbourhoods want but that the council can’t afford. On large developments it will replace the current Section 106 agreement but it will now be introduced on all new development including new single houses and basements and house extensions over 100sq metres in area. Once the rates have been agreed they are non-negotiable.

Southwark is currently consulting on the proposed rates for Southwark’s CIL and has prepared a ‘Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule’. The suggested rates for residential development range from £400sqm on the riverside to £50sqm in central Southwark. Rates for offices range from £100sqm on the riverside to £0 elsewhere in the borough. Retails ranges from £0-£250 but education, health, industrial, and public funded sports/community facilities will be exempt.

The current consultation closed during October but there will be further consultation in January 2013.

Permitted Development Rights

There have been several articles in the press outlining the Government’s intention to change the rules over householders’ permitted development rights. While the headlines say that extensions up to 8m long will be permitted without planning consent, this does not apply in conservation areas and also does not apply to listed buildings – and the restriction that any extension cannot cover more than 50% of a property’s garden will also remain. Large parts of Dulwich lie in either the Dulwich Wood Conservation Area or the Dulwich Village Conservation Area and those properties not in a conservation area, but which are subject to the Scheme of Management run by the Dulwich Estate, will also be unaffected as the Scheme of Management regulations overrule normal planning.

Closure of Lordship Lane Police Station

Below is an exchange of correspondence we have had with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police regarding the proposed closure of East Dulwich police station in Lordship lane.

Dear Susan Badman,

Thank you for your email dated 01 October 2012, in which you express concerns about the future of East Dulwich Police Station.

I recognise that there are a number of matters of great concern to Londoners and the confidence of the public in the MPS is dependent on the way we address those concerns.

Before addressing your specific points about East Dulwich Police Station, I thought it would be helpful to explain the context in which the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is examining potential changes to the policing of London.

Our approach starts with identifying ways in which we can improve our performance at cutting crime and deliver a higher quality public service to the people of London.  At the heart of this will be our commitment to safer neighbourhoods, and a specific promise to strengthen our Safer Neighbourhood Teams with an additional 2,000 police officers.  The provision of appropriate bases is vital to ensure we are able to respond to local demand, and we are clear that our current ward structure and borough partnerships will continue to be the foundation of neighbourhood policing.

We are also committing further resources to dealing with incidents to make London safer, with an additional 500 officers into the teams that respond to 999 calls. We believe that the provision of extra officers to our neighbourhood and response teams will be welcomed by Londoners, and it should therefore be central to our thinking around any potential changes.

In addition to this commitment, we have been reviewing the ways in which the public can access our services. This has changed considerably in recent years, with the introduction of a standard 101 non-emergency number; internet access; the opportunity to make diary appointments to see officers; and the commitment we have made that every victim of crime should be able to see an officer if they wish. We are examining the potential for further provision of ‘drop-in’ surgeries at community venues such as local authority facilities.

This Public Access review will make proposals for enhancing the quality of service provided by the MPS, in response to changing public demand. These proposals could include the permanent closure of East Dulwich Police Station, which has very low numbers of visits by the public. These will only take place when a local Public Access Plan has been signed off by MOPAC. Such closures would allow your Borough Commander to return operational officers to their primary role of emergency response and crime prevention in neighbourhoods.

The financial context in which the MPS is conducting this review requires us to save approximately £500 million pounds from our budget, and so we have to focus on how we can offer the best value to tax-payers at the same time as improving the quality of our service.

My commitment is to increase the numbers of officers working in Safer Neighbourhood teams. The exact numbers in each team will be decided as part of our Public Access review. But we are considering establishing a minimum staffing level for every team and giving local commanders the discretion to increase numbers according to the specific demands of each ward.

Once the MPS has completed its Public Access review, we will submit proposals to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime who will have the final say on the sale of any buildings. This will be undertaken by Christmas 2012 and MOPAC will then assess our proposals. We are clear that no decisions on closure of individual stations will be made until a new plan for Public Access has been approved as MOPAC will want to uphold the Mayor’s pledge that “no front counter will close unless an equivalent or better facility for public access has been identified”.

I can confirm that I had said in my interview with BBC in September that there will be consultation with local people before big changes are made to policing.

I hope that this provides you with the necessary reassurance you were seeking however should you have further concerns I would ask that you direct them to your Borough Commander in the first instance . Alternatively you may wish to address your concerns to Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, via Simon.Byrne@met.pnn.police.uk, who is leading on work regarding the Met’s local policing model.

Yours sincerely,

Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner – 29 October 2012

 From: Sue Badman [mailto:susan_badman@btinternet.com]
Sent: 01 October 2012 11:32
To: ‘bernard.hogan-howe@met.police.uk
Subject: Closure of police station in the three Dulwich Wards, Southwark
Mr Bernard Hogan-Howe, QPM

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

Dear Mr Hogan-Howe,

In a recent BBC report you were quoted as saying that the Metropolitan Police Force would consult local people before making big changes in local policing.

However, at a recent meeting of the Dulwich Community Council held on 18th September, the Borough Commander confirmed that East Dulwich Police Station would be closing imminently and that the base office for the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Village and East Dulwich Wards would be in Camberwell. No mention was made of fate of the small SNT base on the Kingswood Estate in College Ward which we in this area rely upon for the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.

The closure of Dulwich’s only ‘front counter’ police station at East Dulwich is not acceptable without making arrangements for alternative premises.  The Camberwell station is about four miles from the most distant part of College Ward; it is not easily accessible by public transport from large parts of Village and College Wards because there are no direct train services and a bus trip would probably require at least one change.

On most days it could take up to 50 minutes to travel by road from Camberwell to Crystal Palace Parade in the far south of the Borough. This will lead to less efficient deployment of the local SNTs, PCs and PCSOs who will have to travel further and will have less time to spend patrolling the wards. Residents in these areas will feel more vulnerable knowing that the response times to attend incidents, or respond to information about suspicious behaviour in the area, are longer.

Mr Hogan-Howe, please will you confirm that you did make the statement quoted by the BBC, confirm that the intention is indeed to close the East Dulwich station, and direct me to the discussions or consultations with local residents that have preceded this decision.

Finally, will you please give me an undertaking that the decision to close the East Dulwich Police Station will be reconsidered, to give an opportunity for local residents to be consulted, and an alternative site to be identified and commissioned.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Susan Badman

Chair of Turney Road Residents’ Association