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Planning Permission for Driveways

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 22 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Driveway Drive Build Plan Project

Following a change in the law in England in October 2008, planning permission is now required for homeowners wishing to pave a front garden with a hardstanding of more than five square metres if they are not using a permeable material. One of the main reasons for the new legislation is that the conversion of gardens to driveways in urban areas has increased the amount of water that goes into the storm drains when it rains, and this has contributed to the increase in flooding.

New Regulations

Under the new regulations, planning permission is not required if you are creating a driveway from a semi-permeable or permeable material, or if the water is directed to a lawn, border or Soakaway to drain naturally. This is to make sure that rainwater slowly seeps into the road drainage system, rather than running straight into the drainage system which causes flooding.

Of course, one or two driveways will not have a noticeable impact on the drainage system, but the trend for turning a garden into a driveway has become increasing popular in recent years, as many householders prefer to have parking space than a front lawn. The cumulative effect of water flowing from thousands of paved gardens has added extra pressure on an archaic drainage system that was never designed to cope with the increased water levels. In fact, hard surfaces can increase surface water run-off by up to 50%.

What are Acceptable Materials?

The type of permeable surfaces that are acceptable include Gravel, permeable Block Paving, and porous concrete and asphalt. Driveways built before October 2008 do not have to gain planning permission retrospectively.

There are also other issues for preventing gardens being turned into driveways, such as the destruction of microclimates where insects and grubs can survive that in turn are food for small animals and birds, and the fact that hard surfaces reflect the heat of the sun rather than absorb it.

Contact the Highways Department

One specific point where discussions with the local council will be required is if you plan to put in a new driveway that crosses the pavement or verge outside your home. In this instance, you will need to obtain the permission of the Highways Department at the council. They will also require that the kerb be dropped to road level so that it isn’t damaged when you drive your car over it.

The process for doing this varies from region to region. Some councils will insist on doing the work themselves, but others will only do it if they happen to be resurfacing at the time. If they don't do it themselves they will probably require you to use approved contractors to do the work. If that's the case get a variety of quotes, as charges seem to vary wildly.

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[Add a Comment]
Nosreppih - Your Question:
Could you let me know what dimensions are applicable if I want to create an 'In/Out' drive?We already have drive way, but being a 1930's house it is not exactly wide.The frontage to the property is 50 foot wide and about 23 feet deep.I understand that the hard standing has to have enough room to take 2 cars sie by side, is this correct?

Our Response:
You can create a driveway of any size if the materials are porous etc (for adequate rain drainage). If the drive is more than five square metres and of a non permeable material then planning permission will be needed. If you want to create an additional exit/entranceand or dropped kerb, you will need permission from the local highways department.
DrivewayExpert - 23-Jun-17 @ 2:39 PM
Could you let me know what dimensions are applicable if I want to create an 'In/Out' drive? We already have drive way, but being a 1930's house it is not exactly wide. The frontage to the property is 50 foot wide and about 23 feet deep. I understand that the hard standing has to have enough room to take 2 cars sie by side, is this correct?
Nosreppih - 22-Jun-17 @ 2:26 PM
Gonk - Your Question:
Hi, my neighbour in a small cul de sac has put concrete over the grassed area to the front of mine and his house! He now parked one car on his drive and two on the concrete new drive created! So now I have a car parked directly in front of my house! Is this allowed? I wouldn't have bought the house if this was in place initially? I would be shocked if planning permission was given. Thanks

Our Response:
Check your title deeds to see who owns the land etc. If a shared access or driveway was in place when you purchased the property, this should have been in the information passed on to you from your solicitor, so it's worth getting back in touch with them. As for planning permission, sometimes driveways can be obtained but there are conditions relating to dimensions and porosity etc. If the land doesn't belong to your neighbour, he will have contravened planning regs as well as committing trespass, criminal damage etc. Check with your local council.
DrivewayExpert - 19-Jun-17 @ 10:15 AM
Hi, my neighbour in a small cul de sac has put concrete over the grassed area to the front of mine and his house! He now parked one car on his drive and two on the concrete new drive created! So now I have a car parked directly in front of my house! Is this allowed? I wouldn't have bought the house if this was in place initially? I would be shocked if planning permission was given. Thanks
Gonk - 15-Jun-17 @ 6:55 AM
irene - Your Question:
House opposite has created a 2nd driveway and access point onto the road. Should they have obtained plannng permission for this and should I have been gven an opportunity to object as it is right opposite my garden.

Our Response:
Permission from the council's highways department is always required when a dropped kerb or new access to a highway is requested. Planning permission is not always required.
DrivewayExpert - 6-Jun-17 @ 12:29 PM
house opposite has created a 2nd driveway and access point onto the road.Should they have obtainedplannng permission for this and should i have beengven an opportunity to object as it is right opposite my garden.
irene - 3-Jun-17 @ 3:05 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi, Can I extend my existing driveway without permission? I currently have some grass area on both sides of the drive, but I need space for visitors as its too small for two cars side by side. The original paving driveway was laid about 10 years ago.

Our Response:
You may need planning permission if your driveway will be bigger than 5 sq metres. If you want to increase the opening/access part of the driveway you will need permission from the council's highways department.
DrivewayExpert - 26-May-17 @ 1:54 PM
Hi,Can I extend my existing driveway without permission?I currently have some grass area on both sides of the drive, but I need space for visitors as its too small for two cars side by side. The original paving driveway was laid about 10 years ago.
Sam - 24-May-17 @ 2:57 PM
I'm wondering if you can help. I've recently moved into a new build detached home and realised we have no access to our driveway from our front door and if we want to get to driveway we need to walk down front path and onto road to walk round to driveway which is at the back of the house. There is no pavement outside our house its just our front garden then service grass then road. I'm not up to speed on any regulations about this but to me you should have access from front door to driveway as access from Backdoor might not always be available ?? Thanks for the help
Jamie - 22-May-17 @ 6:55 PM
I've moved in a new build house and would like to knowwhat The slope of the pavement must be to get onto your driveway becausestruggle to get the car on ? Thanks
paul taylor - 20-May-17 @ 4:59 PM
Hi there. Our house sits on a culdesac which is on an un-adopted road. The road itself is made up of essentially hardcore and is very much the opposite of what you would expect on a highway/ council adopted road! Our drive is just in excess of 73sq meters and since we have lived here (6years) has been half concrete half gravel. We are looking to have the whole area covered with imprinted concrete. Drainage will be put in as per the installers spec. Do I require planning? Many thanks.
DavidS - 19-May-17 @ 8:16 PM
Viral - Your Question:
Hi we got elevated garden can we convert into driveway? We got on road parking but it's always tough to get parking.Look forward to hear from you.Best wishes

Our Response:
You should apply to your council to see whether permission would be allow. Most councils have technical specifications regarding slope gradients, access points onto the publichighway etc.
DrivewayExpert - 8-May-17 @ 2:21 PM
Hi we got elevated garden can we convert into driveway? We got on road parking but it's always tough to get parking.Look forward to hear from you.Best wishes
Viral - 7-May-17 @ 11:11 AM
Hi i live on a small narrow single road.i hav lived there for 10yrs. In the past two years i have got a car so up until then i hadnt had any need for a drive. Which was pretty tight to get car onto so rarely used.If cars are parked outside property cars still can pass. Before i moved into this property the neighbours opposite had created there own drive directly inline with mine. They have no dropped kerb so harder for him to get on and off. And for the past two years because i have a car parked on my drive and park infrount of house he decides to vandalise my car. On hes many dog walks at random hours am or pm. I hav found raw meats, oil gunk. Thorns nails around tyres. .hoover contents. On or around my car and visitors cars. I hav put lighting and cameras up n he manages not to be caught. I hav reported to council and police but they havent done anything and with lack of proof of the person in the act even tho the rest of neighbours and the lady next door who sold her home because of them confirmed who it is.I need to know if its legal to hav such a small road with the drives opposite. It has been hell coming home from work and having to clean up before parking having to check car each morning before leave. I do not want to start anything with them as i want to live peacefuly.but i am at the end especially as its affecting my daughter where she is getting parranoid with the things going on
tt - 30-Apr-17 @ 3:00 PM
We live in a beautiful area with grass verges along the pavements and beautiful trees. However the actual street that I live on is known as the parking lot as there is double parking all the way down it. This is mainly due to the fact that there is a row of 10 terraced houses with no parking spaces. If these houses extended their driveways up to the kerb then there would be enough space to park 2 cars side by side in each driveway. Is there a possibility the council would let us do this?? It is a cul-de-sac so losing the pavement on one side shouldn't make it unsafe.
Eggy - 27-Apr-17 @ 6:15 PM
I live on a cul-de-sac which has a shared access with 5 other properties, we have our front half tarmac driveway and half garden.I want to infill the garden and cover with pebbles to allow for more car parking space - we could fit 4 cars in a row this way leaving our driveway accessible for neighbours to turn if necessary.There is no kerb on the premises as that is only at the bottom of the main road of the cul-de-sac.The only issue I can see is that there is one spot on the shared road that you can park a car currently and if I pebble the garden bit, parking there will obstruct our driveway. Do I need permission from the council for any of this?
LJM - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:54 PM
Roseylee - Your Question:
Hi, I live in a corner house with A roads running along the side and front of our property. We also have traffic lights in front of our house. Our neighbour's have driveways but we have a lawn. I've always assumed we can't have a drive because of the lights. Is this the case? Are there rules about this?

Our Response:
It's likely this would be refused, but your local council will be able to give you a list of the relevant criteria to be sure.
DrivewayExpert - 21-Apr-17 @ 2:30 PM
Hi, I live in a corner house with A roads running along the side and front of our property. We also have traffic lights in front of our house. Our neighbour's have driveways but we have a lawn. I've always assumed we can't have a drive because of the lights. Is this the case? Are there rules about this?
Roseylee - 18-Apr-17 @ 8:00 PM
Jim - Your Question:
Would I require planning permission? I live on the end of a terrace on the main road! There is an area for which a parking space could be created by taking down a wall and inputting gravel etc to make the space. The curb is already dropped. Parking space would be small and only for one. It would mean reversing off the main road into it, but the road has decent visibility.Any thoughts?

Our Response:
If you want to put in a dropped kerb, you still have to apply to the council highways department, regardless of whether or not planning permission for the actual driveway is needed.
DrivewayExpert - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:45 AM
Would I require planning permission? I live on the end of a terrace on the main road! There is an area for which a parking space could be created by taking down a wall and inputting gravel etc to make the space. The curb is already dropped. Parking space would be small and only for one. It would mean reversing off the main road into it, but the road has decent visibility. Any thoughts?
Jim - 15-Apr-17 @ 6:42 PM
We currently have no off road parking but there is a lane next to our house that we have 'right of way' to access the rear of the property. We bought this when purchased the house. The lane is a dead end. We would like to convert our rear garden to enable us to park at the back of the property. We would lower the garden to be level with the laneand access the parking down the lane. Would we need planning permission? It is my ne'er standing that next door got planning permission to use the lane to access some land at the bottom of the lane to store 2 caravans. I would really appreciate any help from someone, ideally via email.
Liz - 8-Apr-17 @ 5:33 PM
Rick- Your Question:
Hi.we moved into our home about 2 years ago now but it doesn't have access to a driveway because we have to walk up an alleyway about 10 feet before we get to our gate, so a driveway in the front garden is out of the question. However we could easliy get access to our back garden but it means crossing the alley way to get to our back garden. The way I see it is that pretty much every driveway you drive onto you have to cross a form of pathway. Just wanted to get some advice on how to go about getting this in action. Reason being parking out on the road is mayhem it's a rat race home to get a parking spot.

Our Response:
The easiest thing to do is to talk to someone at your local planning and highways departments for details on what you can and can't do in the vicinity of your property.
DrivewayExpert - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:43 PM
Hi. We have been thinking for some time about taking away some of our back garden to replace with a driveway big enough for 2 cars. The issue is that our rear garden backs onto a main road with a lay-by/bus stop. Are there any circumstances that may prevent us from getting planning permission for this proposal because of our garden backing onto the main road? About 50 or so meters down the main road there are houses with driveways onto the road but they are the front gardens that have been made into driveways so not sure if there is a difference in permission. We live in a close with a corner plot with no front garden. The problem with parking has come about because everyone who can have a front drive installed HAS had a drive installed and really shrunk the parking for the area.
Wizz2130 - 28-Mar-17 @ 7:04 PM
Hi.we moved into our home about 2 years ago now but it doesn't have access to a driveway because we have to walk up an alleyway about 10 feet before we get to our gate, so a driveway in the front garden is out of the question. However we could easliy get access to our back garden but it means crossing the alley way to get to our back garden. The way I see it is that pretty much every driveway you drive onto you have to cross a form of pathway. Just wanted to get some advice on how to go about getting this in action. Reasonbeing parking out on the road is mayhem it's a rat race home to get a parking spot.
Rick - 28-Mar-17 @ 2:50 PM
Brendan - Your Question:
Do you need planning permission to remove an old Tarmac drive and replace it if your not making it any bigger and it's been down before 2008?

Our Response:
If you're replacing it with a permeable driveway you will not need permission. It's larger than 5 square metres and you are laying an impermeable surface then you will need planning permission.
DrivewayExpert - 22-Mar-17 @ 2:01 PM
Do you need planning permission to remove an old Tarmac drive and replace it if your not making it any bigger and it's been down before 2008?
Brendan - 19-Mar-17 @ 6:45 PM
Ash - Your Question:
Hi, I would like to convert my front garden into the driveway, which has a slope. As per the rules on the planning portal, permission is not required. When I went on the local council site for applying the drop kerb application, I noticed that there is a line which says "Also if the work involves land level change over 300 mm then this will also require planning permission. The planning portal will give you guidance"My question is "land level change form the gound level or the slope level"I am currently stuck with which one to really follow (council or planning portal). My local council planning help desk is not of that great help. Please can you provide some guidance on it.thank you.

Our Response:
We can't find anything that specifies this figure. Some driveway regulations specify a maximum gradient requirement of 4% (or 1 in 25). The example given may mean the change in level from the road to your actual property. Your planning officer will be able to help you.
DrivewayExpert - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:06 PM
Hi, I would like to convert my front garden into the driveway, which has a slope.As per the rules on the planning portal, permission is not required.When I went on the local council site for applying the drop kerb application, I noticed that there is a line which says "Also if the work involves land level change over 300 mm then this will also require planning permission.The planning portal will give you guidance" My question is "land level change form the gound level or the slope level" I am currently stuck with which one to really follow (council or planning portal).My local council planning help desk is not of that great help.Please can you provide some guidance on it. thank you.
Ash - 14-Mar-17 @ 1:08 PM
Niki - Your Question:
Hi weve recently bought a house in a culdasack and weve got a front garden and want to change it into a driveway what advice can you give me and the odds of us getting permission for it?

Our Response:
Your local council will be able to give you a list of the criteria you need to comply with. This will probably be on their website. The things that most highways authorities will take into account are: visibility, road type, proximity to junctions,bus stops, street lights etc
DrivewayExpert - 14-Mar-17 @ 10:38 AM
Hi weve recently bought a house in a culdasack and weve got a front garden and want to change it into a driveway what advice can you give me and the odds of us getting permission for it?
Niki - 11-Mar-17 @ 11:10 AM
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