DHST have been closely following the proposed New Southwark Plan for nearly a year and have been actively participating in the consultation process, contributing comments to the parts of the document which affect Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and having success in putting in place a sensible development strategy for Champion Hill whilst providing greater protection to the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.
The New Southwark Plan will be a new borough-wide planning and regeneration strategy up to 2033. Once finalised and adopted, it will replace the saved Southwark Plan policies and the Core Strategy. This document sets in place strategies for sites in the borough in relation to potential development of these sites.
The New Southwark Plan contains area visions and site allocations including East Dulwich and Champion Hill Stadium. Within the first version of the Plan was an allocation for the Champion Hill stadium which included the land around the stadium (car wash, car park) and the land on which the stadium buildings are located (health club, bar, changing rooms etc.) but, specifically excluded the football pitch. In theory this could have meant that the New Southwark Plan set in place a development strategy for the site which provided no facilities for the Football Club other than a pitch. Clearly this isn’t feasible for an ambitious senior Club like DHFC.
Our response to the Council’s first draft of this document was partially successful with the amendment of the required uses on the site to include both the football pitch and associated facilities rather than just the pitch. Whilst we had some success in getting this small but significant wording changed the Council omitted to include the area of the associated facilities and the concerns on the other aspects that we highlighted in our original response still remained.
The Council then consulted on the new and amended preferred option policies document which we responded to here. The East Dulwich area vision was amended to acknowledge that the Club is “an important visitor attraction with a valuable community function” and the Champion Hill site allocation was amended so that any new development on the site includes provision for a stadium with at least the same size facilities as we currently have.
Given that the first version of this document didn’t acknowledge retaining of the ancillary facilities (turnstiles, changing rooms, bar etc.) we should see this as a very important ‘win’, particularly since the current situation (with the withdrawal of Meadow’s planning appeals) means the car park is realistically the least path to resistance in terms of developing the land and the first version of this document would have left everything but the pitch up for grabs which could have harmed the ability for a senior level football club such as DHFC to continue to use Champion Hill.
The New Southwark Plan: Proposed Submission Version is currently out for formal consultation until 27 February 2018. This stage of the consultation to assess whether the proposed Plan is ‘sound’ and ‘legal’. The Trust have made their representation which supports the Plan. The current description of the site now reads as follows:
Redevelopment of the site must:
• Retain the football ground and ancillary facilities (D2) with capacity for no less than 3,000 spectators.
Redevelopment of the site should:
• Provide new homes (C3).
Redevelopment of the site may:
• Provide new extra care housing (C2).
Design and accessibility guidance
The design, layout and accessibility requirements for this site are dependent on the proposed mix and location of land uses and their relationships to each other within the site. Proposals must ensure that the football grounds continue to function successfully. Comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment of the site could include taller buildings subject to consideration of impacts on existing character, heritage and townscape. Redevelopment should complement the setting of existing open spaces, and enhance walking routes and connectivity to Lordship Lane and East Dulwich. The site is not within a borough designated Archaeological Priority Area or conservation area. The site is located close to the Camberwell/Constance Road Workhouse build in 1892. An archaeological assessment is required for this site.
We will report again once the results of this stage of consultation are complete.