The Dulwich Estate

Scheme of Management

Dulwich - an area of some 1,500 acres, covered by the Dulwich Estate - is generally recognised as an oasis in south-east London.

What distinguishes Dulwich from its environs is the preservation of the character of the area - the appearance of individual properties is in harmony with that of neighbouring buildings, maintaining the integrity of streetscapes and there is an almost rural feel due to an abundance of trees and open spaces.

This is no accident: for the past 400 years, the Manor of Dulwich with which Edward Alleyn endowed his charitable Foundation, has been controlled by its governors/trustees, initially as freeholder of all the land and since the advent of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, as Managers of the Scheme of Management (see About the Scheme of Management).

Following the enactment of the Leasehold Reform Act, lessees of houses were given the right of enfranchisement: the opportunity to buy the freehold of their property. To retain control over development on the Estate in order to protect the value of the Charity's property, the governors sought consent for a Scheme of Management and this was approved in the High Court of Justice in January 1974. Some 3,800 properties on the Estate are now in freehold ownership and subject to the Scheme of Management.

The Scheme requires freeholders living on the Estate to obtain prior written consent before undertaking any works to trees or alterations to the external appearance of a property or change of use.

There is also an obligation on freeholders to maintain the external appearance of their property (including boundaries and gardens) in good repair and in a clean and tidy condition.

The Scheme also defines Amenity Areas (the largest of these being Dulwich Woods) which are maintained by the Managers and the cost of which is included in the Scheme Charge.

The Managers of the Scheme are the Trustees of The Dulwich Estate Charity.

The rights and powers conferred on the Managers by the Scheme are conferred on the Managers for the purpose of enabling them to preserve the amenities of the Estate for the common benefit (clause 16. (a) Scheme Document).