Clarification for Estate permission on driveways, fences, walls and new hedges.

DRIVEWAYS

Until recently full permission (including fees) was required for any works undertaken to driveways, including re-surfacing. But it was apparent that if someone wished to refurbish or create a new patio, no permission or fees were required, even though the amount of work and estate traffic involved was very similar. Because of this it seemed unreasonable to continue to require permission for drive refurbishment only, and a full application and the payment of fees is no longer required for such work.

However we do still need to be informed if you are modifying your driveway in any way, in particular if you are wanting to create an in and out drive or to increase the hard-standing area. The reason is that you may or may not own the verge outside your property, not all properties do. It may also be the case that the covenants of your property stipulate that the verge must remain a grassed area.

FENCES, WALLS and NEW HEDGES

We also need to be informed if you are erecting or altering the position of fences, walls or hedges on the boundary of your property.

If you are planning any such work please send a letter or email with a drawing to Hobdens detailing the work you wish to undertake. The planning committee will review your proposed works and aim to provide a decision within 3 weeks. If we do not already have on file a copy of your deeds and covenants we may need to obtain a copy to allow a decision to be made. If you are able to provide a copy of these it would be helpful.

If we have any concerns regarding your application or feel that your neighbours should be consulted, we will contact you.

In general it is a good idea to inform Hobdens of any alterations you are planning to make as this allows us to deal more effectively with any comments we may receive from neighbours.

Questions we often get asked

“Can I plant anything on my verge?”

In general the answer is no. Apart from grass, planting on the verges is generally not permitted, primarily for reasons of pedestrian safety.  As there are no pavements on the estate, the verges allow pedestrians to step off the road and walk along the verge to avoid traffic.
Anyone who is considering the possibility of planting on the verge outside their property must check with Hobdens first, to ensure what they are planning is permissible.

“What can I plant on my verge?”

Generally only grass is permitted on verges. If your covenants permit, we will usually allow a small low level flower border with a maximum width of 2ft (60cm) from your boundary and a height not exceeding 2ft (60cm).

“What if I want to plant hedging on my verge?”

Even if you own the verge, hedges are only permitted when they are planted within the boundary of your property and are not allowed to encroach on to the verge.

“If I have a boundary wall can I plant a hedge in front of it?”

No, hedges can only be planted within the boundary of your property.

“Can I plant a new or replacement tree on my verge?”

New or replacement trees are not permitted on verges, unless the tree is an existing WRA owned tree, in which case the WRA will consider if it is appropriate to replace the tree.

“If I own my verge, why can I not just plant what I want?”

Estate covenants give anyone who owns property on the estate, the pedestrian right to ‘pass and repass, with or without dogs’ along estate roads and verges.  Your property is subject to various restrictive covenants and it is these restrictive covenants which states what is permitted (not the WRA). Any planting must not impede this right in any way or contravene the restrictive covenants of your property. If for example your properties deeds & covenants state you should maintain a Grass Verge of X distance from either the road or your building line, then you must comply with this restriction.

“If the WRA own the verge outside my property, what can I plant?”

No new planting is permitted on any WRA owned verge, these verges must be maintained as grass.

“Is the restriction on planting on verges a new rule?”

No, the restrictive covenants have always been in place.

“Why is this subject now only becoming a concern?”

Planting on verges has always been a concern, but, as we are seeing an increase in the number of new planting and constructions (where residents are not checking their deeds and covenants prior to undertaking work) we are merely highlighting and reminding residents of long established restrictions.  The WRA have an obligation to uphold the covenants on behalf of the residents.

“What does the WRA plan to do about historic planting which contravene these restrictions?”

Historic issues will be reviewed on an individual basis.

“I have a shared access road.  Will the WRA cover the cost of any repairs?”

No, responsibility for repairs to access roads will be clearly detailed in the covenants of the property which owns the land. Maintenance is usually shared equally between all the properties which have the benefit of access over this land, but you will need to check the covenants of your property for exact details.

“What do I do if my neighbour won’t contribute towards the maintenance of a shared access road or driveway?”

In the first incident you need to fully check both yours and your neighbour’s deeds and covenants to clarify where responsibility lies. Once you have ascertained responsibility for the cost of maintenance you need to speak directly to the responsible person. If talking fails, you will need to employ the services of a solicitor to act on your behalf. The WRA cannot intervene on your behalf.

“Will the WRA cover any costs towards the maintenance of my driveway?”

No.  Responsibility for this lies with the property owner.