At the Turney Road Residents Association AGM, a number of residents spoke of their concern at the loss of planting, hedging and ‘greenery’ in the Road and the growth of non-porous hard surfaces, largely for multiple car parking.
Their concerns revolved around two issues: increased exposure to flood damage from loss of run-off but also the loss of green space and planting -an important amenity for us all. As one person said ‘’if everyone paved over their front with no green at all, Turney Road would look awful, so those who have done this are relying on others to maintain the street environment.“
A recent article in SE21 magazine reported : “ according to the London Assembly, the area of front gardens in London being paved over is equivalent to 22 Hyde Parks or 5,200 football pitches”!!
We undertook to have a look at this issue and to work with others in the Road to suggest what could be done to maintain and improve our environment.
The Dulwich Estate ‘Rules’.
The Dulwich Estate Management Scheme has a number of rules and guidelines about what they call ‘The Public Realm’.
The guidelines state that front gardens should be at least 50% planted, with fences or hedges maintained, including those between properties. Most houses in the street are in breach of both of these. You can view the guidelines as follows:
Turney Road is also in the Dulwich Village Conservation Area and Conservation Area guidelines apply. You can view these at:
Turney Road falls into sub-Area5 and sub –Area 3.
The guidelines on front gardens and materials are mentioned in part 3 of the document paras 5.2.2, 5.2.3, 5.3.
The Draft Dulwich Supplementary Planning Document is currently being consulted on and is available to view :https://www.southwark.gov.uk/downloads/download/2252/draft_dulwich_spd
Sections 6.8.2-6.8.4 refer to paving over of gardens, which is considered “unacceptable”.
Over the years there has been a lack of enforcement and it is probably not practical to insist strictly on the guideline in retrospect. Most of the loss of planting has been due to the development of hard standing for cars.
However, the Estate, as part of its management plan, is concerned to halt the future development of hard-standing, to enforce the guidelines for any new development and to take every opportunity to re-instate planting.
For instance, when a property is sold, they will make the vendor and purchaser aware of any breach of the guidelines, request a plan for rectification and a timetable for this.
In addition, permission for development of any sort (including extensions and loft extensions) will be conditional on rectification of a breach in the guidelines.
We should all be concerned about this issue, however, and as a community, try to do whatever we can to increase planting and develop more green spaces.
As a Residents Association, we are keen to assist with ideas and also by being vigilant about any further loss of planting.
There are already a number of good examples in the Road of imaginative re-instatement of planted areas that also incorporate some space for car parking.
Some residents have used sympathetic designers who have worked with the need to park a car but at the same time introduce more planting.
We will be asking one or two of these designers to give us some practical ideas and tips on the website to encourage everyone to think again about what they can do.
We will also be surveying the Road to estimate more accurately the size of the problem as a baseline, to encourage everyone to make some improvements and to see how far we can improve our environment over the next few years.
So, what can you do?
- If you are considering changes to your front garden, consider how to include more planting and how you can re-instate at least some garden.
- Have a look at some of the new gardens that have made imaginative improvements.
- If its difficult to substantially increase green areas at the moment, think about tubs and pots, hedging and planting along fences to bring in more green
- If car parking is a difficult issue for you, then consider ways of retaining car space while introducing more porous materials or leaving gaps in paving to allow water drainage. Even better, introduce some green under your car area.
- Re-instate fencing and borders along the boundary with your neighbour and consider growing creeping plants along this.
Look out for future news and articles and advice on the website.
Hopefully now Summer is at last here, you’ll feel inspired to think about your front garden as well as your back garden and improve the ‘public realm’ of Turney Road. So get planting!!
At the Summer Party on June 21st, gardener Tony Pizzoferro will be giving a demonstration so look out for this.