Category Archives: Belair Park

Friends of Belair Park PUBLIC MEETING

Thursday 2nd March, 2017 – 7.30pm 

Belair Recreation Rooms (access from Gallery Road, SE21)


Hedgerows in Autumn

This meeting will give users of the Park an opportunity to discuss two ecology/amenity issues:

Hedgerows: how would you like them to be managed?

The paths between the hedgerows and the western and northern Park boundaries have become favourite feautures of the park, particularly with dog walkers. The hedgerows were planted as a result of an initiative by the two members of the Friends, Angela Wilkes and the late David Nicholson-Lord (who were also members of the Dulwich Society).

Southwark aims to carry out work on the hedgerows before April and the nesting season.

The hedgerow presently helps to screen the new industrial-style fence along the railway embankment. Many people enjoy the hedgerow at its present height, but if left to grow unmanaged it will become straggly and an inefficient screen. A number of people want it trimmed much lower for reasons of personal security, but with too much reduction, it could become meaningless in terms of both visual effect and ecology. There will be presentations from members of the Friends and from Southwark officers. The technique of hedge laying, which promotes new growth, density and strength will be explained. This will be followed by an open discussion.

Threats to trees after flood relief works.

The purpose of the recent flood relief project was to detain water within Belair Park, so that local drains are not overwhelmed during major storms, leading to overflow and water damage in local homes and businesses. Unfortunately, the creation of earth mounds to hold back water has caused ponding over the root system of magnificent trees and this problem must be addressed urgently. What are the possible solutions and when will action be taken?

Southwark has approved our request for funding to repair the section of path near the West Dulwich gate of the Park, where uneven ground, mud and ice have posed seasonal slip and trip hazards.


Hedgerows in Spring


Hedgerows in Summer


Hedgerows in Winter


Flooding of root system


Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park, Friends of Belair Park

Is your library under threat? Share your experiences with us – The Guardian

Some of you may be interested in this link. Thanks to Laura Swaffield for pointing it out to the Friends.

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park



April 9, 2016 demo, which took place on the day that the occupation of Carnegie Library (Herne Hill) ended

Until its closure earlier this year, many members of the Friends of Belair Park were regular users of Carnegie Library, which played an essential role in education and community events. It would be a tragedy to lose this major public facility.

I reproduce the words of Stephen Carlill for those of you who wish to protest:

Dear All,

Applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building consent have been made to change the use of Carnegie Library and carry out extensive works to the building and on the Reading and Wildlife Garden.  If these were to go ahead they would effectively exclude any library or other community use of the building or garden and it would be only a fee-paying gym.

Please email the council objecting to the applications by the closing date for objections, which is Monday 12th December.  Below is a list of important points that it would be helpful for you to include.  If you do not have time to write something yourself then please just copy and paste the list into your email.  This is an exercise where the number of objectors is at least as important as what the objectors write.  Every member of your household should therefore email separately if at all possible.  If you can get others to email as well that would be even better.

Your email should be sent to and must to be considered include:

  1. Carnegie Library SE24 0AG
  2. Applications numbered 16/06270/FUL and 16/06271/LB
  3. Your name
  4. The address where you live


Important points to make are:

  • The Traffic Assessment included in the applications indicates that a substantial proportion of the customers for the gym will come from outside the area and the proposed opening times mentioned in the applications are 6am to 10pm weekdays and 7.30am to 10pm at weekends, with the possibility of even longer hours.  All of this is completely inappropriate to the wholly residential area in which the library is situated.  Residents should not have to suffer the disturbance of loud voices in the streets and car doors slamming.  The Assessment says many of the gym users will travel to and from it by train or bus but this is not credible and there would be increased pressure on the limited amount of parking space in the roads round the gym.
  • The proposed excavation of the basement is not deep enough to accommodate gym uses in which the participants jump or raise up  their arms.  It is proposed to hold exercise classes, including “higher energised” ones, on the ground floor but a group of people jumping up and down in any one of those rooms would generate vibration and noise which would preclude the use of the other rooms.
  • Lambeth’s Planning policies require construction on back gardens to leave at least 70% unbuilt on and all construction to be a positive response to what is there already.  The proposed construction would take up more than half the Reading and Wildlife Garden, leaving only a strip separated from the building, and destroy mature trees.  The garden is a public one and the setting of the Listed library building.  It should be left alone.  If construction is necessary it should be in keeping with the building and take place on the van park.
  • The information provided so far has been grossly inadequate.  The applications have been given only minimal publicity.  They are available only on the Council’s website and then only intermittently.  The application documents repeatedly assert that implementing the proposals would “aid and support” the building but no details are provided.  There is no indication of where the exercise classes would take place.  We are told that this would be in community spaces but all the accommodation has this label and nowhere is set aside for library or other community uses.  There is nothing  about measures to contain vibration or noise, about air conditioning on any floor of the building or about smell inside or outside the building.


The effect of the works on the stability of the building, asset transfers, leases and property rights are not Planning considerations and therefore have to be ignored in the Planning process.   I therefore suggest that you do not mention them.

I am hoping that some of the recipients of this email will have the time, patience and dedication to go through the applications on Lambeth’s website but most of us obviously cannot do that.  I am therefore attaching what I think are the two most important documents, namely, an extract from the Transport Assessment and the proposed layout of the basement and garden areas.

Stephen Carlill



Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park

Community Autumn Fair Saturday September 19, 2015

This ever-popular annual event will take place at All Saints Church West Dulwich and outside in Lovelace Road SE21 8JY from 2.00 to 5.00 pm.

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park

local blogger Candy Blackham visits Belair Park

Local blogger Candy Blackham set out in 2013: “I am going to explore London using shoe leather and my Freedom Pass and enjoy activities and events which are free of charge.”  She began with the tour as recommended by ‘Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand Book to London and its Environs, 1862′ – which was used as a starting point for interesting and historically-informed day-trips around the capital.   You may be interested in reading her recent experiences of Belair Park on her blog: www.

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park

Belair Park nominated for flood award

FOBP reproduce this e-mail from John Kissi of Southwark Council:

Dear All,

 I am pleased to inform you the Herne Hill Flood Alleviation Scheme has been shortlisted for the Institute of Civil Engineers – London Evening Standard People’s Choice Award. The winner will be decided by public vote.

 I should be most grateful if you could please vote for us and also encourage others to do likewise. The Herne Hill FAS is on third column, third row on the link below.

 Thank you very much for your support.

Best wishes

John Kissi

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park, flood works

Anyone for Tennis?

Have you been meaning to get back into tennis? Would you like to meet new people to play? Join the brand new Belair and Dulwich Parks Tennis League! Open to men and women (aged 18+) of all standards, it’s a great way to have some competitive fun and set yourself a new sporting challenge. Players arrange their own time to play over 8 weeks, from Thursday 14 May to Wednesday 8 July.
Entries close: Monday 11 May
Join online:
For more details, email or ring Sally or Nigel on 0750 328 1732


Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park, Dulwich Park

Swamp Cypress tree in Belair Park – previously hit by lightning – to be saved

Since the Annual General Meeting late last year, the Friends have been hard at work, liaising with Southwark councillors and officers to improve your Park and working also in defence of other local green spaces. We have a backlog of news, much of it concerning the aftermath of the flood relief works, and we shall be bringing you this in a series of bulletins of which this is the first.

T. distichum Sept 16, 2012 mjh

the Belair Swamp Cypress in Sept. 2012

T.distichum April 11, 2015

the Belair Swamp Cypress in April 2015

We begin with an update about a much-loved tree in Belair Park, the American Swamp Cypress, close to the mansion. It has been a much-admired feature of the Park for many years (see the photo taken on September 16, 2012). The species (Taxodium distichum) is otherwise known as the Bald Cypress because it drops its leaves annually.

A long-lived tree, often reaching ages of over half a millennium, it is a native of swampy forests in the SE corner of the USA. One of its notable feature is that in environments in which the water fluctuates, it typically produces woody “knees” that rise out of the water-logged surface and enable the tree to get oxygen down to its submerged roots. There has been no need for our specimen to produce “knees” in its present location.

swamp cypress growing in Delaware

a forest of swamp cypress growing in Delaware (Credit: Kej605. CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sadly, our tree was struck by lightning in mid-October, 2014, and the top section came down. There has been talk about removing the remaining section (the present appearance of the tree is shown in the photo, taken on April 11, 2015), but during this month, after a brief email exchange between Martin Heath, Chair of the Friends, Paul Highman, Dulwich area parks manager and tree officer Ian Williams, a decision has been taken to preserve the lower part of the tree.

It was not the only swamp cypress in the Park, but it was the easiest to find!

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park, Friends of Belair Park

Bee Urban move home (and want your help)

Bee Urban

Volunteers Needed

As you are aware Bee Urban will be moving before the 2nd of March 2015. We are in need of volunteers to help with this epic task and many of you have already kindly offered.

We asking for volunteers from tomorrow Thursday 19th to 1st March. We will bee at the Bee Barn (Kennington Park, Lambeth, SE11 4AU)  10-5pm every day, please come and join us… Tasks will range from transplanting, boxing up and de-constructing the Bee Barn other structures. Many different tasks for all abilities to participate, all welcome even to just say hello. Copyright © 2015 Bee Urban, All rights reserved. Our mailing address is:

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park

Chairman’s Annual Report for year of 2014

The Friends of Belair Park Chairman’s Report for 2014 outlines our mission to protect public green space. Belair Park is part of a network of green spaces which function as essential wildlife corridors across the urban landscape, as well as serving the human community. During 2014, we have worked closely with New Leaf Educational Gardens and with the Lost Effra Project, run by the London Wildlife Trust. We have also collaborated with the London Borough of Southwark, Thames Water and engineering services provider Mouchel to feed local knowledge into the planning and delivery of a scheme to construct flood relief works in Belair Park. We have also been active in questioning current plans by developers ZhongRong to construct a giant commercial complex on the hill top section of Crystal Palace Park. These have involved the summary over-turning of more than a decade of consultation, which had culminated in the explicit recognition of a nature garden area, and of a promise by Bromley Council that no large commercial building would ever be considered for the site.
We thank for your valuable support during 2014.
Our very best wishes for the New Year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Belair Park, Friends of Belair Park