Licensing policy

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

1.1 The borough of Welwyn Hatfield is located in the centre of Hertfordshire with the very south of the borough bordering the London Borough of Enfield and Central London only around 15 miles south of the borough boundary. It contains the two towns of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield and a number of large and small villages providing a mix of urban, suburban and rural areas, with each town and village having its own identity and character. The borough also contains large areas of open countryside and around 79% of the borough is designated as Metropolitan Green Belt. The towns are the main sources of housing, shopping, leisure and employment in the borough.

1.2 Despite being relatively self-contained, the borough’s proximity to London and the good transport network in and around Welwyn Hatfield mean that it has strong links to London and also links to Stevenage to the north and St Albans to the west in terms of commuting patterns and housing markets.

1.3 The boroughs population is estimated to be around 122,000 at mid2016 making it the second fastest growing local authority in Hertfordshire with an annual population growth rate of 2.25 per cent. Welwyn Garden City is the largest settlement in the borough in terms of population and area.

1.4 Development of Welwyn Garden City began in the 1920s and it was built according to the vision of Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the Garden City movement. Howard planned 'a town designed for healthy living' where people could live, work and raise their families away from the miseries of polluted cities. The residential and commercial areas were laid out along tree-lined boulevards with a neo-Georgian town centre.

1.5 The area now known as Old Hatfield grew up around the gates of Hatfield House and still retains many historic buildings, notably the Old Palace, St Etheldreda’s Church and Hatfield House. This part of Hatfield is now within the Old Hatfield Conservation Area.

1.6 There is a significant student population at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield in the College Lane and De Havilland Campuses and at two other college campuses at Oakland’s College in WGC and the Royal Veterinary College at Potters Bar.

1.7 Welwyn Hatfield has a unique built environment and heritage which shapes the local landscape and is an important part of the borough’s identity. It includes a garden city, 8 conservation areas, 423 listed buildings, 73 areas of archaeological significance and 4 registered historic parks and gardens.

1.8 The health of the local population is generally very good with life expectancy recorded above the national average for males and females and there are currently no health indicators in which the borough is significantly worse than the national average.

1.9 The Council licences premises for the sale and supply of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. There are a variety of different types of premises holding these licences, including village halls, clubs, hotels, shopping centres, public houses, nightclubs and open spaces.

1.10 Potential operators should refer to the District Plan and emerging core strategy (through our development control team or on our website at for details about the local planning authority’s approach to granting planning permission for developments where such activities may take place.