Eighteen months ago I approached developer St.Aidan’s who’d applied for planning permission to redevelope the Dulwich Garden Centre, 18-22 Grove Vale. Personally it’s sad to see the demise of a a garden centre – that’s where we buy our plants from for our garden. But if it is going to be redeveloped then I wanted to ensure that any scheme benefited the local community in East Dulwich. So I proposed the current charming but pokey Grove Vale library be moved to a proposed new development across the road on a peppercorn rent. I attended the previous schemes planning appeal in January’07 to help ensure it didn’t proceed as it was an ugly pastiche with no community benefit.
The new scheme, progressing through the planning process, includes 24 flats and a new 230m2 Grove Vale community library. The current Grove Vale library is only 144m2. So the new library would be big enough for school classes from Dog Kennel Hill, Goose Green and other local schools to visit, hold adult education, have lots more study desks and computers and be a much bigger asset to the community. If approved it would be on a peppercorn rent for circa 125 years. The would release money that would enable it to be open much more than the current four days per week.
My calculations show this as having a potential net present value of £2,000,000 for East Dulwich.
Still quite a few issues to work through but I’m really excited by how Southwark Council Officers have been able, working with a developer, to get this scheme submitted. Hopefully it will be approved in December or January.
Watch this space for updates.