By Jon Hartley, Dulwich Hill Ward

At the most recent Dulwich Community Council meeting, my fellow Dulwich Hill Councillor Maggie Browning and I were able to assign funding to local projects via the Cleaner Greener Safer fund, Neighbourhood Fund and Highways Capital Investment fund.

These snappily titled local council budgets are a really important way for us as your representatives to be able to support good ideas from the community and protect and enhance some local services that are under increasing pressure.

This year we were able to provide funding towards improvements in Goodrich School playground and St Clement’s orchard, support the Plastic Free Dulwich initiative, and resources for the local Police team. We also reserved funds to deal with any extra street cleaning that’s required in the area, supported developing local resident groups, promoting links between different generations and funded traffic speed restrictions.

Adding to an initial grant last year, we were glad to be able to fully fund improvements to the pathways in Dawson’s Hill park, making them safe and accessible. The need to make the park accessible for all was identified as the key priority following site visits with a steering group of local residents who use the park and a wider consultation. Thank you to everyone who was involved.

These projects come from suggestions by local people and community groups and the support from the grants can make a real difference. We are delighted that these area funding streams have been protected in Southwark Council’s latest budget. If you have an idea for our area in the future, we’d like to hear from you.

The Gala Festival will be back in Peckham Rye Park this year (and in 2020 and 2021 too). Maggie and I have talked to a number of local people about the impact last year, finding a variety of views; and I certainly received mixed responses to my positive mention of last year’s Festival in my last SE22column!

Physical damage to the Park is still causing concern nearly a year on and there were some minor incidents of antisocial behaviour. However, the festival is generally thought to have been safely run and was enjoyed by many residents. Paid festivals of this kind also provide funding that allows the council to maintain parks and free events.

Balancing these concerns means that whilst the festival will continue to be held, the Council’s entertainment license for the event includes a number of conditions. These should ensure improvements to operations and have restricted the festival to two days as people living around the park had requested.

Jon Hartley – Dulwich Hill Ward

This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of SE22 magazine.