Results of Consultation

Results of Consultation

As stated above, the Council sought the views of all 15,000 households in Welwyn Garden City on these options. We received approximately 1,700 responses (11%), and reported the results to Cabinet in November 2017. A full copy of that report can be found within the download section

A broad range of individual comments on the options were made alongside the responses to the specific questions that were posed. Whilst the individual comments were wide ranging, many referred to the need for equity in the Scheme and for the character of the Garden City to be maintained. The results point to a desire amongst residents to see the ongoing protection of Welwyn Garden City in a fair and equitable way.

In particular, 86% of respondents who live within the Estate Management Scheme area think that the Estate Management Scheme rules should be applied in the same way, regardless of whether the property is freehold or leasehold tenure. This figure was 73% amongst residents who live outside the Estate Management Scheme area.

Further, 81% of respondents who live within the Estate Management Scheme area think that the context and history of Welwyn Garden City justifies additional rules and controls. This figure was 80% amongst residents who live outside the Estate Management Scheme area.

Reasons given for the responses set out above include equality and fairness and the need to preserve the Garden City ethos and character of the town. In particular there is a perceived unfairness amongst residents regarding the way that the Scheme is enforced against freeholders and leaseholders, and that strong protections are required in order to maintain green spaces, trees, verges and other aspects that are unique to the Garden City. Respondents also strongly support the view that the historical significance of the Garden City movement justifies the extra controls that exist.

Residents both within and outside the Estate Management Scheme area were given the opportunity to express a preference for one or more of the options for how the Estate Management Scheme could be administered or modified in future. The results below show that the favoured option was to maintain the status quo.

Option EMS Resident Non-EMS Resident
Maintain status quo 38% 33%
Replace with Article 4 Direction 16% 20%
Terminate Scheme without alternative controls 8% 5%
Find another body to administer 1% 3%
Combination of options 11% 20%
Another option 25% 19%

In respect of fees, existing residents of the Estate Management Scheme area, which is those who currently have to make applications to the Council for  Estate Management consent in some circumstances, were asked if they would be prepared to pay an application fee. 46% of those who responded said that they would, and 54% that they would not. The Council’s questionnaire did not suggest an application fee level but it was suggested by a number of respondents that a fee in the range of £50-£100 may be acceptable, although this was not widely supported.

A question regarding the aspects of properties that residents consider to be most important revealed that trees and hedges are considered most important, followed by front elevations of houses and front gardens, windows and roofs. These are all matters which are controlled by the Estate Management Scheme and support the conclusion that its retention is supported by residents.

The majority of respondents considered that the west side and the Howardsgate/ town centre areas are those which are best preserved and maintained as part of the Estate Management Scheme. Estate Management Scheme and non Estate Management Scheme respondents were fairly evenly split as to whether more attractive areas should be given more protection than others, although some respondents note that they do not consider this to be a reason to revoke the Scheme in other areas as the Council should look to improve those areas instead.

Residents were also asked whether they considered that the original Estate Management Scheme rules, which came into effect in the 1970s, are still appropriate for today. 71% of residents who live within the Estate Management Scheme area considered that they were, as did 45% of residents who live outside the Estate Management Scheme area.

This represented the majority of respondents and demonstrates further support for the objectives of the Scheme.

It is clear from the responses received to the consultation that residents of the town value the Estate Management Scheme in terms of the protection that it provides to the special character of Welwyn Garden City as the world’s second Garden City. The responses to the question regarding how the Scheme should be administered in future are also clear, although they did not comprehensively identify one single option as being preferred.

Page updated: 7/01/2019

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