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.