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Planning Permission for Driveways

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 20 Apr 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]
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
My house is not on the same level as the street, it is down from the road and path. I want to build a driveway, but if I build it flat then it will be 2 to 3 feet above the bottom of my living room window. Other drives in my street have been built sloped so that the end of the drive nearest the window finishes at the heigh of the windowsill. Is this a legal requirement or can I just build it level with the roadway and block some of my window? The drive with finish 3 feet from the house.
Edd - 6-Nov-17 @ 9:52 PM
Hi I need advice. We want to pave our driveway. Our rainwater directed to border. Do we need any permission? Just one thing neighbours rainwater coming in our side through the water ditch. What to Do??
Ruth - 11-Oct-17 @ 2:09 PM
approximately 15 years agoi contacted the local council for advice on building a driveway, as far as the location was concerned they were happy,i went ahead with this believing that no planning permission was required,we are now in the process of selling our house , we have been told that we should have obtained planning permission,there is no drop kerb and the drive has chippings as a service. Many Thanks Mark
marcus - 10-Oct-17 @ 7:16 PM
mollymoo - Your Question:
Gosh where to start. We recently bought a very old end terraced house in a green belt area, there are 5 terraced housed with one communal garden we all share. On the deeds from 3 months ago it shows the garden area but what it does not show large part of the garden which neighbour had taken to build a driveway for 2 cars with a large fence round it. I have been onto my local building permission via council website & it shows no planning permission for this driveway but it does show he tried to build a conversary on the same land & was rejected. The rumour is that the garden area is actually owns by another guy but that he knows he cannot ever build on it or do anything with it & that it must stay as a communal garden area. One I do not think the council gave permission for any driveway & two he does not own the land. The houses date back over a 140 years, I would guess the grassed area all the houses look onto in a square was always a shared area. I want the driveway removing what can I do??

Our Response:
This is a civil matter, so if you the neighbour will not agree to removing it, or insists that he owns the land, you will have to take legal action and the let the court decide.
DrivewayExpert - 3-Oct-17 @ 10:20 AM
Gosh where to start. We recently bought a very old end terraced house in a green belt area, there are 5 terraced housed with one communal garden we all share. On the deeds from 3 months ago it shows the garden area but what it does not show large part of the garden which neighbour had taken to build a driveway for 2 cars with a large fence round it. I have been onto my local building permission via council website & it shows no planning permission for this driveway but it does show he tried to build a conversary on the same land & was rejected. The rumour is that the garden area is actually owns by another guy but that he knows he cannot ever build on it or do anything with it & that it must stay as a communal garden area. One I do not think the council gave permission for any driveway & two he does not own the land. The houses date back over a 140 years, I would guess the grassed area all the houses look onto in a square was always a shared area. I want the driveway removing what can I do??
mollymoo - 2-Oct-17 @ 6:16 PM
Hi. We live in a cul de sac with very limited parking. Some years ago when the council carried out some road widening we asked if they could put in some dropped kerbs for us at the same time so that we could construct a driveway access to our front garden at a later date. They agreed to do this and eventually in 2013 we asked if they would quote us to carry out the work. We were told planning permission was not required. Their surveyor came and measured up but we felt it was too expensive to complete the work at that time. The council told us that we could engage another contractor who might be cheaper but they would have to be approved by the council. Unfortunately I suffered a major heart attack and everything in my life was put on hold for a while. When I eventually got back to dealing with the driveway I contacted a council approved contractor who quoted to do the work but who was stopped by the council who then informed me that they had withdrawn permission for me stating that my garden was now too small and they had concerns about visibility and vehicle overhang. Can it be lawful that having paid for dropped kerbs and being told I did not need permission that the council can stop me goingahead with this?
Cockney190 - 28-Sep-17 @ 1:09 PM
cookies - Your Question:
We are having outside insolation done. Do we need to change our deeds as its a shared drive. But not obstructing it.

Our Response:
Insulation? or Extension? This depends on how much it intrudes onto the driveway really. We can't give much advice as we don't really have much information here.
DrivewayExpert - 6-Sep-17 @ 11:34 AM
We are having outside insolation done. Do we need to change our deeds as its a shared drive.But not obstructing it.
cookies - 4-Sep-17 @ 11:26 AM
My neighbour says he is going to extend his drive sideways up to my front garden. Trouble is I faceside on to his property and is car will be 2 meters closer to my aspect. I live in a bungalow and the bedroom will be less than 6 strides away from his drive extension. Can he just do this as I’m now feeling stressed about the issue.
Jimbo - 31-Aug-17 @ 8:34 AM
Hi Ive recently moved to a property with a shared drive.I have a garage and car space behind my garage, my neighbours garage is attached to mine and she also has a space behind her garage too.She has also removed her lawn and made extra space im unable to do this due to the location of my property so im installing an electric garage door to help resolve the issue of parking, this seemed to be the cheapest option.The problem i have is i have to park as close to my garage as possible so as not to block my neighbour in on what was once her lawn - now drive.I wouldnt mind but i only moved in 4 weeks ago and she was on my case about parking the moment the removal van arrived, in addition to this she has moaned at any trades people who have arrived to do jobs at my house not just about parking but one of them cut tiles outside on my lawn. Im generally easy going and have been as nice as possible but i see the parking being a nightmare.Any advice on how i stand with parking would be really appreciated.Thanks
Lavinia - 30-Aug-17 @ 11:50 PM
Hi Ive recently moved to a property with a shared drive.I have a garage and car space behind my garage, my neighbours garage is attached to mine and she also has a space behind her garage too.She has also removed her lawn and made extra space im unable to do this due to the location of my property so im installing an electric garage door to help resolve the issue of parking, this seemed to be the cheapest option.The problem i have is i have to park as close to my garage as possible so as not to block my neighbour in on what was once her lawn - now drive.I wouldnt mind but i only moved in 4 weeks ago and she was on my case about parking the moment the removal van arrived, in addition to this she has moaned at any trades people who have arrived to do jobs at my house not just about parking but one of them cut tiles outside on my lawn. Im generally easy going and have been as nice as possible but i see the parking being a nightmare.Any advice on how i stand with parking would be really appreciated.Thanks
Lavinia - 30-Aug-17 @ 11:49 PM
Becci- Your Question:
Hi I need some help pls. I live in end of a road there is a turning point but with a public footpath, they have allowed 2 drive ways to b dug out and accesses to there houses. It's like one rule for them and not us. We have to park at great difficulty some times in a communal area it's getting worse!! I have enough we live in a terist house there are 5 in a row no side accesses no back access and no drive way we have to walk a good few yards I'd dread to think if there was an emergency health safety is so bad! We have a bank opposit which is council property we have asked if we could all make a drive way as this grass bank isn't used they don't want to no, I have got my local mp involved and local papers Iv had enough!!!! Is there any law please help me. 5 properties and the people who live in them all want something done.

Our Response:
No, there are no laws to help you with the lack of a parking space on your road unfortunately. As long as people are not parking illegally, there's not much you can do except to accept you have to walk to your car.
DrivewayExpert - 21-Aug-17 @ 2:46 PM
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