Do You Need Planning Permission for a Driveway?

Estimated reading time 7 minutes

We all want our homes to look great, not just on the interior, but outside too. Whilst a well-kept garden can do wonders for kerb appeal, a driveway can have much the same effect. A neat resin bound driveway can complement a front garden exceedingly well. Likewise, the addition or resurfacing of a block paving driveway can add a touch of character or sophistication to a previously well-worn drive.

Before you go racing off the create designs, get quotes or start paying surfacing specialists, read below to find out whether you are going to need planning permission to add or amend a driveway at your home.

In short, there are several legalities you must ensure you comply with before setting a spade in the ground and perfecting your paving. But, planning permission, for the most part, is not needed. However, that means that sometimes, it is. Let’s look at the rules around driveway planning permission so you know the best route to getting your driveway created correctly and compliantly.

When is planning permission required for a new driveway?

Planning permission will be required for a new driveway if any of the following apply, however, certain local authority guidelines may also mean further authorization is required. We will cover those a bit later.

When the surface is impermeable

If your driveway is to be larger than five square metres, and the surface chosen does not allow water to pass through it, you will require planning permission. Certain tarmac driveways or concrete driveways would not be possible due to their impermeable nature. However, it is possible to have these installed with a sustainable drainage system included which would not only make your driveway compliant but also easier to maintain.

When the driveway is shared

If your driveway is shared, or work to it could affect access for your neighbours, you will be required to seek planning permission for your new driveway.

When features of the surrounding area are removed or added

If installing your driveway would impact road visibility, such as the removal or addition of trees, the addition of a new gate, or the building of a wall, you will be expected to have planning permission granted before you go any further with your driveway plans.

A planning permission application for such alterations allows the local authority to assess the level of risk, if any, and the cosmetic effect on the neighbourhood that your changes may have.

When your property is a listed building

If your home is a listed building, you are restricted by the work you can have carried out on it and would require specific agreements to allow you to proceed.

When you add a dropped kerb

If your new driveway is to include a dropped kerb, you may also need to seek permission if it is to modify an existing pavement or road.

When will planning permission not be required for a new driveway?

In many cases, planning permission will not be required for a new driveway. Much depends on the materials you use, the size of the driveway and what kind of drainage there is.

When you use a permeable surface

If you choose a permeable surface like porous asphalt, gravel, open-graded asphalt, or block paving, you are unlikely to need planning permission for your driveway. Some surfaces suit certain areas or building types better than others, so it would be worth doing a little research before assuming any permeable surface will do!

When water drains to a lawn, border or SuDS

If the rain that falls on your driveway can be directed to your lawn or borders or taken on by a SuDS (sustainable drainage system), you will not require planning permission for your driveway. As well as ensuring that the surface itself is permeable, you must also make sure that the foundation is porous. Where surfaces like tarmac are used, it is encouraged to incorporate a slope, this way the water can flow down to a permeable surface and drain away properly.

When your driveway space complies with permitted developments

Certain developments within the grounds of your home fall within what is known as permitted development. This means no planning permission is likely to be required. In the case of driveways, if they are smaller than 5 metres square, you shouldn’t need any planning permission to get your new driveway laid. However, whilst planning permission may not be required, there can be specific regulations that each local authority has in place. You will still need to abide by these regardless of driveway size.

What requirements do local authorities have for driveway installation?

Planning permission aside, the local council for the area you live in may have specific requirements you must comply with before getting a driveway installed. This could include, but is certainly not limited to:

Changes to your front garden

In some cases, you may only be permitted to alter a small percentage of your green space. This could mean changing the shape or layout of your planned driveway.

Listed buildings

Planning permission will certainly be required if you live in a listed building but there may also be further obligations for you to fulfil. The preservation of historical buildings and areas is important to local government, and they will make sure your cosmetic changes cause no significant changes to a place or building of interest.

Road and pavement safety

You may not require planning permission for your driveway but if it could impact traffic flow, safety, and visibility, you may find that your project is bound by very specific restrictions.

Surface choice

In areas where rainfall is particularly high, or properties are closer to rivers, lakes and streams, the authorities may only allow for driveways to be installed if they are made from porous surfaces or have incorporated SuDS into their design.

How do I apply for planning permission for a new driveway?

If you find that planning permission is required for your driveway, you must ensure the correct steps are followed so you aren’t caught out. Firstly, speak to your local planning department. Inform them of your driveway idea. They will be able to inform you of what requirements you need to fulfil and whether planning permission is needed.

Armed with this information, you should collate all information relating to your planned driveway. This will include designs, timeframes, drainage, materials and potentially much more. This will form the bones of your planning permission application.

Now complete the planning permission application, making sure all fees are paid, documents completed, and deadlines met. Then you just wait! We can’t give a timeframe on how quickly you will receive a response. Some councils may have less to work through than others and some projects require a lot more work before a decision can be made.

How much will driveway planning permission cost?

Fees may vary by local authority, but you can expect a cost of approximately £200 for a driveway planning permission application. It would be advisable to get a cost from your council in advance so you can factor it into the budgeting for your new driveway.

As we mentioned earlier, it is always vital that you follow the guidelines as set out by your local authority. Rushing into a driveway surfacing project could see you not only spend vast sums on having it laid but even more on having it torn up if you find you are breaching any rules. The team at Tidey & Webb can help advise you on the best options, and then once satisfied, you can utilise our 40 years of experience to have a premium quality driveway laid. Start the process today with a free driveway surfacing quote, or call our team to ask any questions you may have. We are the leading residential surfacing specialists for Sussex, Surrey and Kent and are members of Constructionline and SafeContractor, ensuring we put safety, compliance and quality as the highest of our priorities.

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