Do you need planning permission to lay a driveway?

Many home improvements will require planning permission and laying a new driveway can be one of them – find out more here.

planning permission to lay a driveway

Find out whether you need
planning permission for your new

If you want to revamp the exterior of your property, laying a new driveway is a great way of improving your home’s curb appeal as well as providing an off-road parking space. Although there are no restrictions on laying a new driveway, there are rules governing which materials you can use – and this is where planning permission comes into the equation.

When do you need planning permission for laying a driveway?

Driveways are often laid with hard materials such as traditional tarmac. Tarmac is non-porous and increases surface run-off of water, leading to the overflowing of drains and sewerage systems and causing localised flooding in urbanised areas. This flooding causes millions of pounds of damage to property and the government is keen to stop it. A Foresight 2004 government report showed that 80,000 properties are at significant risk of surface-water flooding which causes an average of £270 million of damage each year.

Planning legislation came into force in 2008 after some particularly bad flooding to try and tackle this problem. Legislation now states that planning permission is required for laying non-permeable driveway surfaces. Planning permission is also required for driveways if hard materials are being replaced with other hard materials. Planning permission is not required for non-porous driveways that do not exceed five metres squared.

How do I get planning permission for my driveway?

To get planning permission you will first need to apply for it. This involves filling in a planning permission application form. Plans of the work must be drawn to scale and a £150 fee will have to be paid. Planning permission applications for this type of work are usually decided within eight weeks of submission.

The alternative to hard materials and planning permission

It may be a better choice to avoid the planning permission process entirely and choose a different material for your driveway. Planning permission is not required for porous materials used for laying driveways. Porous materials are permeable to excess water and soak up rain water quicker, reducing the risk of flooding. One option is a grass driveway. Again, this doesn’t require planning permission because of its natural ability to absorb water. Although a grass driveway is aesthetically pleasing it is best when only used occasionally, else it will be damaged.

Porous asphalt or gravel are popular driveway choices which negate the need for planning permission because they allow water to absorb into the surface. These are not always suitable choices for a large area so if you wish to lay a large driveway you may want to consider permeable paving. Paved driveways consist of small brick or concrete slabs that are laid closely together, but not actually touching. This allows water to escape easily through them. These can be laid out in attractive patterns that will make sure your parking area is still appealing to the eye.

If you are still unsure about the rules surrounding laying a driveway and the planning permission required then be sure to ask a professional contractor for their advice – they will be able to tell you exactly what is required and which material would be best for your driveway.


Ann says:

We have turned garden Into a gravel driveway, now going to apply to get the kerb lowered, can anyone tell me once we do get the kerb lowered will it be illegal for neighbours to park infront of it

mjackson says:

Hi Ann,

We recommend speaking to your local council who are best placed to advise in regards to kerb regulations.

Thanks for your post.

Mark @ Servicemagic

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