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Planning Permission for Driveways

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 24 Nov 2018 | 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]
Hi, do I have to get a permit to convert the front garden into a driveway if I do not need to drop the kerb? The driveway will be at the same level as with the grass level and there is no draining hole or similar facilities on the space.
James - 24-Nov-18 @ 5:33 PM
I’m trying to find a definite answer as the information seems to be very vauge in this area. My neighbour has just had their some patch of grass at the front of their house tarmac for an extra parking space for the house. The space is barely 2.1m and would prevent us being able to open the car door of our own driveway which explains why the grass was put there in the first place. For a small area like that would they have needed to apply for planning permison for drainage and the water will now run off the tarmac towards our front door. What I really need to know is 1. Do you need planning permission to change a surface from grass to tarmac and is drainage essential 2. Is there legally a width a parking space should be Many thanks
Em - 31-Oct-18 @ 2:26 PM
30 years ago we closed off a drive and started using a different one, The old drive is still there but it is under soil and grass and has been fenced off along the pavement edge. Due to a change in circumstances we need to re open the old drive by uncovering and repairing the old surface, remove the fence and install a gate set back from the road. The drop kerb is still in place as it was never removed. So, do I need planning permission to open up and re-instate what was/is always there or can we just get on with it?
Pipoc - 17-Oct-18 @ 7:02 PM
hi i have a nabour we live on a walk and the highways department have removed the bollards and made a hard standing so my nabour can drive a vehicle down to park in there garden without a dropped kerbs to the highway, Is this illegal for the council highways division to do this and would they need planning permission
sav - 16-Oct-18 @ 11:24 AM
I live in a flat (two storey and I own the top flat) The tenants of the flat below have removed the grassed front garden in front of the flats and replaced with stones and is now being used as a car parking space. This is actually a breach of the lease as it states grassed areas have to remain grassed, so I am currently taking this up with my Managment Company. But I also wanted to know if they have broken other laws/regulations eg: should they have applied for planning permission for this? Should they have asked for my consent? I am also in the middle of selling my flat and this has caused a lot of issues. Any advice/guidance would be much appreciated as this is causing me a lot of stress and aniexty. Thank you
C - 30-Sep-18 @ 3:38 PM
I am purchasing a rural property near Chichester.and would like to create an entrance further along the lane from the current shared entrance with a couple of heavy vehicle companies. There is evidence of other plots having an entrance from the lane and it would run straight into a small paddock which is part of the plot. Do I need permission to create this access point?
Gander - 19-Sep-18 @ 6:47 AM
We want to convert part of our front garden into a driveway, but to access the driveway we would have to drive through a area of shared garages (none of these garages are ours). There is no kerb. Would be need planning permission? We're struggling to get an answer from anywhere
TreeFern - 25-Aug-18 @ 8:24 PM
Hi, have an existing driveway with a dropped curb that I want to replace and widen across the front garden to provide more parking. Do I need planning permission to extend the dropped curb? Thankyou Karen
Kareng - 13-Jul-18 @ 2:25 PM
Hi , I am wanting to make my yard into a driveway at the back of a terraced house. Is it allowed ?
Andrea123 - 10-Jun-18 @ 10:24 PM
Looking for a reputable tarmacadam company in or around Halifax/Huddersfield. We have about 200 sq mtrs of sloping driveway which is currently hard cored. Any suggestions or recommendations would be welcomed (without prejudice) .
Alan - 29-May-18 @ 2:22 PM
I am looking to shorten the driveway at the side of my semi-detached house as to use if for two cars always means swapping them round depending on who leaves first. I would like to change it to garden and bring the fence to the front of the house which still leaves enough space for one car. On having someone round to quote they said I would need to check with the local council as they might have a problem with me decreasing car spaces on the estate, is this possible?
LH - 23-May-18 @ 6:05 PM
Hi I would like to convert my garden into a driveway but have been told by the local council that I can't do because there is a commnul path that I would have to cross to access the main road I would only cross the communal path roughly the size of about 3ft do you know if there are any laws in Scotland that state that you can't drive over a commnul path as this is the reason my application has been rejected regards jim
Scooby - 17-May-18 @ 11:58 AM
When was the regulations changed. That you arnt alowed two droped kerbs in one house ie one at the front one at the back of the house.in higham ferrers northampton
Dave - 20-Apr-18 @ 1:39 PM
I have a long standing shared concrete drive. We want to replace the old concrete with new concrete,do we need to put in a soakaway?
Hovis - 9-Apr-18 @ 1:12 PM
My neighbour has recently dug up his front garden and replaced it with concrete. The concrete is non porous, there wasnt any rebar added to the constuction, the overall job and finish is very poor. I may be fussing for no reason but was wondering who I would complain to with the hope of having it checked out. I live in Wakefield
Shakes - 4-Apr-18 @ 3:25 PM
what Is the maximum height of a wall I can build on my drive with solid bricks? Can I add rails/gates on top? How high can I go?
Nez - 29-Mar-18 @ 9:13 PM
We are about to have our tarmac driveway resurfaced with tarmac. One company insists that we must install a drain to the point where it meets the publicfootpath. Others say it does not need this because it is and existing drive. Which is correct?
BP - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:21 PM
Hi, hopefully I can get some advice on this. We want to have a driveway but it's not very straight forward, we live on a main road (class A road) in a conservation area. Decent size front garden (around 12 meters wide) but fairly close to a bus stop (10-15 meters away). We also need to knock down some of part of the front garden knee high brick wall to make way for the driveway, not sure if this detail is important.
Rey - 21-Mar-18 @ 4:03 PM
drivewaydummy - Your Question:
Hi im wanting to turn the garden down the side of my house into a drive way. there is a public footpath that runs along side my fence. and crosses the road where I would need to be pulling on/off driveway, how likely is it that the council will allow this?

Our Response:
We really don't know as it will depend on a number of factors such as how well used the path is, what the visibility is like, the kind of the road that you will exiting onto etc. It's probably best to ask the council, it's usually the Highway and/or planning departments that deal with this.
DrivewayExpert - 20-Feb-18 @ 10:04 AM
Hi im wanting to turn the garden down the side of my house into a drive way. there is a public footpath that runs along side my fence. and crosses the road where i would need to be pulling on/off driveway, how likely is it that the council will allow this?
drivewaydummy - 15-Feb-18 @ 1:27 PM
kt - Your Question:
We would like to change the side of our driveway to the other side but were refused by the highway agency. we would like to join it to our neighbours and cannot understand why they can have a drive but we can't?! on the existing side it is very steep and we were told we had to use gravel and we are worried it will just end up slipping into the road.please can you help?

Our Response:
We can't really comment on highway department decisions as we don't have the full details.
DrivewayExpert - 14-Feb-18 @ 2:32 PM
we would like to change the side of our driveway to the other side but were refused by the highway agency. we would like to join it to our neighbours and cannot understand why they can have a drive but we can't?! on the existing side it is very steep and we were told we had to use gravel and we are worried it will just end up slipping into the road. please can you help?
kt - 13-Feb-18 @ 6:55 PM
Sorter - Your Question:
I am trying to maintain my share of the shared driveway as it is in ruins. But my neighbour is making it difficult for me.How can I know how much is my share of the driveway?Can I use the simple plumbline to measure at the centre?

Our Response:
Check your title deeds first of all.
DrivewayExpert - 2-Feb-18 @ 3:16 PM
I am trying to maintain my share of the shared driveway as it is in ruins. But my neighbour is making it difficult for me. How can I know how much is my share of the driveway? Can I use the simple plumbline to measure at the centre?
Sorter - 1-Feb-18 @ 6:16 PM
aka - Your Question:
Hi, do you have to get a permit to convert the front garden into a driveway if you do not need to drop the kerb? There's an alley beside the house and the side fence is bordering it, if we remove the side fence we could just turn in from the alley and park in front of our window. Would this be allowed? The house is in a town center if that makes any difference, a couple of identical houses on the street have driveways but there is a tree in front of ours so I assume the council would not let us to chop that down in order to drop the kerb (the tree is on the pavement, not on our property). Hope all of this makes sense :). Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
You always need to contact your local council's highways and planning departments if you want to create a new vehicular access to your property.
DrivewayExpert - 30-Jan-18 @ 11:32 AM
Hi, do you have to get a permit to convert the front garden into a driveway if you do not need to drop the kerb? There's an alley beside the house and the side fence is bordering it, if we remove the side fence we could just turn in from the alley and park in front of our window. Would this be allowed? The house is in a town center if that makes any difference, a couple of identical houses on the street have driveways but there is a tree in front of ours so I assume the council would not let us to chop that down in order to drop the kerb (the tree is on the pavement, not on our property). Hope all of this makes sense :). Thanks in advance.
aka - 28-Jan-18 @ 5:42 PM
Help - Bought a house, kerb is lowered, front garden chipped and large. The pavement however has a grass section just at the edge of kerb. What permission/work do I need to be able to drive over the pavement on to my property for parking??
Hels - 21-Jan-18 @ 3:14 PM
Dear driveway expert I have asmall piece of land to the left of my house which is council owned andgo to the Boundry of my side garden how do I go about obtaining this piece of land to gain access into my back garden witha vehicletrust this piece of land Or being legally allowed to cross it with a vehicle a drop curb would need to be put in place And the grass area turn to hardstanding
Harley - 4-Jan-18 @ 12:44 PM
Kat - Your Question:
I hope I can get some advice on what to do about this. A builder bought a house a few doors away from us last year. Without permission he took down a side fence, blockpaved the area and called it a drive. At the time I spoke to him about this and contacted the highways agency; they got back to me with a brief explanation of the law which seemed to be on our side. The house was sold and the new residents use the space as a drive. However, recently they have become verbally aggressive if a parked car (we only have on road parking) overhangs their drive. I have told them about the fact that the space was not actually a legally designated drive and this has made them more threatening. Have I got any legal recourse about the drive?

Our Response:
If you report this to your council's highway department as a breach of regulations, they should be able to take action...they will either grant retrospective permission and charge the owner for the cost of putting in a dropped kerb, or make them reinstate the fence/surface instead.
DrivewayExpert - 18-Dec-17 @ 3:07 PM
I hope I can get some advice on what to do about this. A builder bought a house a few doors away from us last year. Without permission he took down a side fence, blockpaved the area and called it a drive. At the time I spoke to him about this and contacted the highways agency; they got back to me with a brief explanation of the law which seemed to be on our side. The house was sold and the new residents use the space as a drive. However, recently they have become verbally aggressive if a parked car (we only have on road parking) overhangs their drive. I have told them about the fact that the space was not actually a legally designated drive and this has made them more threatening. Have I got any legal recourse about the drive?
Kat - 15-Dec-17 @ 11:25 PM
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