What is happening?

A renewed approach is being considered by the council’s Cabinet recommending we retain the existing Estate Management Scheme and create a dedicated team within the council’s planning department to oversee its management and enforcement.

It follows an extensive public consultation in October 2016 on the future of the scheme, and this consultation website provides a change for residents and those interested to provide feedback before the final document is launched.

Why is this option being put forward?

The results of our consultation in 2016 showed that 81% of people living within the Estate Management Scheme believed that additional controls and rules, beyond the planning system, were needed to protect Welwyn Garden City’s unique heritage and character, and the majority (38%) were in favour of maintaining the existing scheme.

We believe the most effective way of managing the scheme moving forwards will be to create a dedicated team, allowing us to address the current administration issues and improve how the Estate Management Scheme is processed and enforced.

What other options were considered?

We consulted on a number of different options, including replacing the Estate Management Scheme with an Article 4 Direction, finding another body to administer the scheme, and terminating the scheme without alternative controls.

The advantages and disadvantages of each option were explained in the consultation section.

Residents both within and outside the area were given the opportunity to express their preference, and 38% of Estate Management residents, and 33% of non-Estate Management residents, opted to retain the existing scheme.

Why has the council decided not to proceed with an Article 4 Direction?

Although an Article 4 Direction would have combined the Estate Management Scheme aims with the main planning system, not all Estate Management Scheme restrictions would have been covered, including trees and hedges, which was an area of concern for residents. Only 16% of Estate Management Scheme residents would have been in favour of this option, which is why we are now proposing an alternative way forward.

Why might an application fee be introduced?

The Estate Management Scheme is currently funded by council tax and planning fees. As with planning applications, an Estate Management Scheme fee would be used to fund a dedicated, professional team to determine applications and investigate breaches.

We think this would provide a better service to those who need it, help us continue to protect what makes Welwyn Garden City unique, and make the process fairer for all borough taxpayers.

Have the fees been decided?

No, we will be asking for resident’s views on the fee level. The Cabinet report outlines a table of indicative fees, based on similar schemes created to preserve the historical character of an area, including Hampstead Garden Suburb and Dulwich Estate.

The proposed charges also reflect the impact different applications would have on property values, such as extensions, and include flexibility to respond to very minor projects without deterring people from applying and increasing the need for enforcement.

See Proposed Fee Schedule for details

Will I have to pay for planning permission still?

Yes. Estate Management consent is needed in addition to any planning permission or building control services that is required, which may also be required before you begin work, and would be charged separately.

The consultation demonstrated how strongly residents feel about keeping additional controls in place to preserve Welwyn Garden City’s unique values and appearance, and these proposals will ensure we can more effectively manage and enforce a scheme moving forwards.

Will the Estate Management Scheme rules stay the same?

Yes, all aspects of the existing scheme will be retained and we are proposing to introduce a Design Guide to help everyone better understand how the Estate Management Scheme restrictions apply to their homes.

Will this mean my application will be processed quicker?

We believe creating a dedicated Estate Management team will enable us to improve turnaround times and bolster enforcement activity.

When will I get a letter?

In addition to this website, all Welwyn Garden City residents will receive a letter seeking their views.

Who can I speak to about the proposals?

We hope the above answers any questions you may have, but if you do have any further queries, please email ems@welhat.gov.uk

How can I find out if my house is in the Estate Management Area?

Simply type your postcode into the new [Estate Management Scheme Interactive Map]. Alternatively, you can view the Estate Management Scheme Map - If you are situated in the pink area you are covered by the Estate Management Scheme. You can also check with your solicitor.

What works require Estate Management consent?

See Making an Estate Management Application section http://www.welhat.gov.uk/article/821/Making-an-Estate-Management-Scheme-Application. If it is not clear from this, you can write to the Estate Management Team with details of the proposed works and they will be happy to help clarify whether Estate Management consent is required.

I carried out works to the outside of my home which require Estate Management consent. Do I need to apply for retrospective consent from the council?

If the works require Estate Management consent, then retrospective consent should be sought from the Estate Management Team. If you are uncertain whether you require Estate Management consent, the Estate Management team will help clarify whether Estate Management consent is required. It is proposed that retrospective Estate Management Scheme applications will incur a doubled application fee.

How do I find out if my neighbour has applied for consent?

Applications for Estate Management consent and planning permission can be viewed on Welwyn Hatfield’s online planning register and are also shown on the Interactive Map.

How do I apply for Estate Management Consent and what happens to my application?

You will need to fill in an application form and submit this to the Estate Management Team with details of the works. There are several stages to the application including the Estate Management team writing to your neighbours and asking for their comments. Your application will be considered in a target period of 8 weeks where consultation with neighbouring properties will be undertaken over 21 days following application validation. More information can be found at http://www.welhat.gov.uk/article/821/Making-an-Estate-Management-Scheme-Application.

Where can I see a copy of the actual Estate Management Scheme document?

A copy of the 1967 Management Scheme for Welwyn Garden City can be downloaded.

I am carrying out like for like replacements to my property, do I need Estate Management consent?

Like for like replacements to properties, for example the replacement of windows and doors would not require consent subject to like for like replacement is undertaken, this includes materials, scale, size and detailing of works. The Design Guide will help clarify what is acceptable as like for like replacement. If it is not clear from this, write to the council’s Estate Management Team with details of the proposed works and they will be happy to provide advice.

Do works to trees and hedges need consent in the Estate Management Area?

Yes, Estate Management consent is needed if the tree is over 15 feet in height or if the hedge is to be removed or destroyed. Tree works applications are free of charge.

Page updated: 9/04/2019

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