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Dulwich demonstration as council reviews low traffic neighbourhood

Dulwich residents have held a protest against the closure of the Dulwich Village junction as part of the London-wide move to cut air pollution.

People living and working in the area gathered on Bank Holiday Monday, May 3, to coincide with a meeting held by local ward councillors Margy Newens and Richard Leeming.

Demonstrators say they kept numbers deliberately low to stay on the right side of rules on public gatherings, but numbers will increase in future protests as lockdown continues to ease.

Among groups represented were One Dulwich, who have over 1,900 supporters, East Dulwich Grove Residents’ Group, Dulwich Village traders, Melbourne Grove Vale Traders Against Closures, and residents from Turney Road, Dulwich Village, Court Lane, Woodwarde Road and Dovercourt Road.

A spokesperson from the Dulwich Alliance, which brings together these groups, said: “We were able to put our point across that 24/7 closures stop emergency vehicles getting through, discriminate against elderly, vulnerable and mobility-impaired residents, and push traffic and pollution on to residents and schools in neighbouring streets.

“We want a solution that balances the needs of the whole community, both young and old, and which doesn’t empty some streets of traffic by increasing congestion on others.”

Southwark Council issued more than 22,400 fines between January 11 and February 28 this year to people driving in the Dulwich Village low traffic neighbourhood (LTN). If all of these had been paid early at £65, then the council netted a total of £1,457,560 in just seven weeks.

Researchers have come to different conclusions on the effect of LTNs on pollution. A November 2020 study by scientists at the University of Westminster found that LTNs do not disproportionately benefit richer people, as is sometimes claimed. But a study by Wandsworth Council last December and reported by the Daily Telegraph found that toxic gases increased on main roads as congestion rose.

Southwark Council is due to launch an eight-week review of the Dulwich low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) this month. The review will gather the opinions of residents and people living nearby on the scheme.

Other measures will include online meetings in May and June, reviewing previous feedback, counting vehicle numbers in the area before and after the road closure, looking into bike and pedestrian movements, and monitoring local congestion and air quality.

The demonstration came after Southwark Council made changes to another LTN further north in the borough.

Changes to the Great Suffolk Street LTN were made at the end of last month to remedy “a disproportionate effect on journey times for local residents” caused by the closures, after discussions with ward councillors and emergency services.

Changes include allowing access to Webber Street from Great Suffolk Street and Southwark Bridge Road and removing the no entry rules on Sawyer Street and Southwark Bridge Road and on Lant Street and Southwark Bridge Road.



  1. It seems to me absurd that Southwark council should have raked in such huge sums from the Dulwich Village scheme. I must admit that I have a personal interest having fallen foul of the traffic cameras 9 times in the first few days of January. That may seem like a lot but it was dark and not being a local I was unaware of this change to traffic flow through the area until the letters started dropping through the door a week later. I appealed on the grounds above, accepting responsibility but arguing that a penalty of 9 x £65 was too severe for what was simple human error on my part. Some clemency was shown and I had to pay only 7 out of 9 PCNs, a totally random reduction. Anyway to cut a long story short it seems 22,000 other PCNs having been issued indicates to me that Southwark did not do enough to bring these changes in traffic flow to the attention of the motoring public. It appears a review is to take place as to whether the change has been beneficial or not and I resent having had to pay £450 to have been a part of this experiment. Perhaps if Southwark decide to reverse the process they might consider refunding a few of the excessive number of PCNs they have issued and excessively financially benefited from.

  2. Let them have their middle class enclaves but the people who live in the streets should not be allowed to own cars and all front gardens turned into parking have to be restored . They also have to pay for all maintenance. Then we will see where their priorities lie

  3. I know from living in a village now and being from London born at Lambeth Elephant & Castle that transport is key to the survival of many things. Public safety & movement tends to be limited on roads that are silent and free from passing people in vehicles of all sorts. The safety of the businesses is also key. Why has London suddenly become insular instead of the conurbation it truly is and became over the expansion of the capital until the green belt was formed. All traffic defused the pollution by travelling past lanes of roads that were expanded footpaths from history and going by the latest expansion to the circular roads makes no sense at all. The Southern section is mainly single lane carriageway and even in the past slow. These flower boxes are nothing more than another method of raising money to be wasted on schemes that benefit only a few. You are building with lego the next disaster and control of the transport should be passed to a central point as in the past the Police knew how to arrange flows that kept essential services moving Ambulances need not be Helicopters making up for time lost by staying on main roads. Give local people freedom and not enclaves to free movement.

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