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Planning Permission for Driveways

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 6 Nov 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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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
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.
Becci - 18-Aug-17 @ 5:01 PM
Mattvw - Your Question:
Hi, we live on a private road in a conservation area. I can see nothing specific in the deeds etc, but we wish to install a driveway on our current front garden. My question is do we have to get planning permission to do so due to surface water runoff if we go for an impermeable option, bearing in mind it is a private road?

Our Response:
In general you don't need planning permission if the driveway uses permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through. Permission is need for impermeable surfaces (this is more to do with flood potential, so the fact it's a private road will be irrelevant). Since you're in a conservation area, you should check with a planning officer anyway as there may be additional conditions in place.
DrivewayExpert - 11-Aug-17 @ 10:58 AM
Hi, we live on a private road in a conservation area. I can see nothing specific in the deeds etc, but we wish to install a driveway on our current front garden. My question is do we have to get planning permission to do so due to surface water runoff if we go for an impermeable option, bearing in mind it is a private road?
Mattvw - 10-Aug-17 @ 6:23 PM
Sarahc - Your Question:
I am thinking if purchasing a semi detached bungalow. It is a corner plot and I want to create a driveway on the corner so as to park my car at the side of the house rather than the back. Wouldo this be possible under the current planning permission regulations.

Our Response:
You will need to check with your local council's highways department to establish whether this willbe allowed.
DrivewayExpert - 9-Aug-17 @ 2:33 PM
I am thinking if purchasing a semi detached bungalow.It is a corner plot and I want to create a driveway on the corner so as to park my car at the side of the house rather than the back.Wouldo this be possible under the current planning permission regulations.
Sarahc - 8-Aug-17 @ 3:38 PM
Peter - Your Question:
We have a cottage in the Lake District in front is a shared green that all the cottages have drying rights on and use as a common grass area. We also jointly pay to maintain it. It has been this way since 1795 when the cottages were built. Cars park on the grass parallel to the road now but it has turned the grass in to mud and is slippery and does not look good.Parking as you can imaging is a major problem as the road is only single track and 3 metres wide. We have all agreed to use a small proportion to create five parking spaces. The grass goes directly to the road so no pavement or kerb involved.We of of cours would use the correct permeable material in a dark green shade to blend in.Do you need permission from highways to do this.The road is a small side road

Our Response:
Yes you'll need permission from the highways department to create any kind of hardstanding adjacent to a road, you may also need planning permission as well, especially as you may be in the Lake District National Park.
DrivewayExpert - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:34 AM
We have a cottage in the Lake District in front is a shared green that all the cottages have drying rights on and use as a common grass area. We also jointly pay to maintain it. It has been this way since 1795 when the cottages were built. Cars park on the grass parallelto the road now but it has turned the grass in to mud and is slippery and does not look good. Parking as you can imaging is amajor problem as the road is only single track and 3 metres wide. We have all agreed to use a small proportion to create five parking spaces. The grass goes directly to the road so no pavement or kerb involved. We of of cours would use the correct permeable material in a dark green shade to blend in. Do you need permission from highways to do this. The road is a small side road
Peter - 5-Aug-17 @ 9:55 AM
Vasi - Your Question:
My neighbour but one has changed the front garden into a massive driveway. It falls towards the road so all the water from their drive comes down the path, passed my next door neighbour 's house and down my drive so much that it causes a flood outside the front door. I'm worried that's becoming a flood issue. In seven years we've been here we haven't had any issues until they moved in and paved the front harden. Should he have a galley installed at the end of the drive? He said council said no but I can't believe it's legal as his drive is causing issues to my property. Are there any rules? We are part of Guildford borough council.

Our Response:
You should check with your local council's planning department about the initial driveway installation. If the driveway size has increased, there will usually have been conditions in place about draining and/or use of porous material. Your water company and the environment agency will also be able to take action if there is a genuine flood risk.
DrivewayExpert - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:35 PM
K - Your Question:
We are purchasing a new house which has enough room for a driveway ( as our neighbours have done so) however directly in front of the front garden is a pathway then in front of that is a small grass verge and then another pathway where the curb would need to be dropped. Who would I need to speak to in regards to this and am I likely to get planning permission as the grass verge is classed as public land I believe. Thanks.

Our Response:
Speak to your local council highway department. If you phone ask to speak to someone about a dropped kerb they will be able to give all the advice you need. The presence of a grassed verge doesn't necessarily mean a refusal.
DrivewayExpert - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:02 PM
My neighbour but one has changed the front garden into a massive driveway. It falls towards the road so all the water from their drive comes down the path, passed my next door neighbour 's house and down my drive so much that it causes a flood outside the front door. I'm worried that's becoming a flood issue. In seven years we've been here we haven't had any issues until they moved in and paved the front harden. Should he have a galley installed at the end of the drive? He said council said no but I can't believe it's legal as his drive is causing issues to my property. Are there any rules? We are part of Guildford borough council.
Vasi - 27-Jul-17 @ 7:53 PM
Shortie - Your Question:
We own a piece of land to the SIDE of our property which is 60 metres squared. There is a public footpath and then a dropped curb due to the road changing from tarmac to blocked paving. We are in need of extra parking and considering gravelling or block paving our land to accommodation two cars. Would we need planning permission? I can provide photos if that helps!

Our Response:
If you're creating a new driveway or an extension to an existing driveway, you may need planning permission. You need permission from your local highways department for a new dropped kerb.
DrivewayExpert - 27-Jul-17 @ 2:15 PM
We are purchasing a new house which has enough room for a driveway ( as our neighbours have done so) however directly in front of the front garden is a pathway then in front of that is a small grass verge and then another pathway where the curb would need to be dropped. Who would I need to speak to in regards to this and am I likely to get planning permission as the grass verge is classed as public land I believe. Thanks.
K - 26-Jul-17 @ 4:58 PM
We own a piece of land to the SIDE of our property which is 60 metres squared. There is a public footpath and then a dropped curb due to the road changing from tarmac to blocked paving. We are in need of extra parking and considering gravelling or block paving our land to accommodation two cars. Would we need planning permission? I can provide photos if that helps!
Shortie - 24-Jul-17 @ 7:40 PM
Hi, we have a detached house with a drive to the left running up to the house - already with dropped kerb - taking up circa 1/4 of the vertical space. To the right, is a rockery garden. The drive is quite steep. Not sure how steep but i'd say from the road to the front door is circa 2m - 3m (higher at the front door). I know that there is a drain as the existing block paving has a paved drain cover. There is also some other form of utility as the existing garden wall has a H sign on it. We would like to dig out a strip across the front of the garden so that we have space for another car and to aid turning. Next door has done this already. How am I best to go about this? Do I need an engineer and a landscaper? Obviously, we want this done properly and to ensure that the garden left behind is fully shored up etc. Thanks
ZoeL - 7-Jul-17 @ 5:05 PM
Ali - Your Question:
I made my front garden from grass to hardstanding concrete without housing consent. Now I can fit 6 cars at the front. My issue is that I received a letter from council saying I need to complete a letter from building control. Help what do I do? And will they ask me to break all of it off.

Our Response:
Why not do as instructed? If you haven't completed the work according to building regulations they will of course expect you to make the necessary alterations.
DrivewayExpert - 7-Jul-17 @ 2:43 PM
I made my front garden from grass to hardstanding concrete without housing consent. Now I can fit 6 cars at the front. My issue is that I received a letter from council saying I need to complete a letter from building control. Help what do I do? And will they ask me to break all of it off.
Ali - 6-Jul-17 @ 9:55 PM
cmiller2112 - Your Question:
I will be moving to a new house and noticed that directly to the front I have a dropped curb already in place with a tarmac path directly between the road and my property.My issue is that this path is designated as a 'Cycle Track' and as such the council have put yellow bollards between the road and the front of my property.I would like to gain planning permission to change the front garden into a drive way as parking to the rear is highly congested and my car will only add to the problem. Emergency vehicles will already find it difficult to gain direct access to our property should they need to from the rear.The path directly in front of our row of houses from end to end is only approx' 100m long.I would like to know what you think the chances are of gaining permission and what process I would need to go through to obtain it if at all possible.

Our Response:
We don't really know what your local council's policy would be on this. The easiest thing to do would be to contact them (it's likely to be the Highways Department).
DrivewayExpert - 4-Jul-17 @ 11:58 AM
Alberta - Your Question:
I am looking to extend my existing driveway which is the original driveway created when the house was built. The original driveway is about 1 SQM and we are looking to remove this old driveway and create a new one that can take about 2 cars. I am aware that planning permission is not required if the driveway isn't more than 5sqm, however my question is this 5sqm is it for the original 1sqm with an extra 5sqm or a total of 5sqm width overall with the old 1sqm driveway inclusive.

Our Response:
It's 5 square metres overall.
DrivewayExpert - 4-Jul-17 @ 11:08 AM
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