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  1. Blog
  2. Planning permission for driveways
House selling tips
01 March 2022

Planning permission for driveways

Sam Edwards
Planning permission for driveways

Table of contents

  1. 1. Do you need planning permission for a driveway?
  2. 2. When DO you need planning permission for driveways?
  3. 3. When DON'T you need planning permission for driveways?
  4. 4. How do I get planning permission for a driveway?
  5. 5. What are permeable and impermeable materials?
  6. 6. How do you drain water from your driveway?
  7. 7. Creating a permeable driveway
  8. 8. Do I need planning permission for a dropped kerb?
  9. 9. Will a driveway increase the value of my home?
  10. 10. Should I build a driveway before selling my house?

Most homeowners have plans for their properties, however big or small. If you own a car, you might be thinking of adding a driveway - and why not? Not only do they create a great focal point for your property, but they add a nice bit of value too. However, while most home interior developments are free of regulations, driveways are a different story.

Do you need planning permission for a driveway?

In October 2008, the UK Government introduced new laws to address flash flooding, and driveways became regulated under Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) legislation. What this basically means is, anyone looking to build a new driveway, patio or a similar hard surface in their front garden using impermeable materials, will require planning permission. There are some exceptions - but we'll get to them later in the article.

Do I need planning permission for a driveway in Scotland?

Like England, Scotland has laws around what types of hard surfaces you can lay outside your property. Either the hard surface must always be made of a 'porous' material, or be built to run off water into a porous area in the garden.

If you're unsure about whether you need planning permission, you can find out using the MyGov.Scot website. Just choose your local planning authority to begin.

Do I need planning permission for a driveway in Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, planning permission is required to drop a kerb, which is an essential part of building a driveway. If you're unsure of your situation, contact your local planning office.

Why are driveways regulated?

Driveways are now regulated because paved, impermeable surfaces (in other words, most driveways) were found to cause damage and excessive flooding during heavy rainfall. Flash flooding is a big problem for homeowners near bodies of water, and too much paving and poor natural drainage will increase its chance of occurrence.

When DO you need planning permission for driveways?

So, you're probably wondering when you need planning permission for that dream driveway. There are five circumstances when you'll need permission if your driveway:

1 - If your driveway extends over five square metres

Flood risk increases with surface area. As most cars exceed five square metres, it might be worth building your driveway from permeable materials.

2 - If your driveway is built from impermeable materials

Impermeable materials do not absorb water, which means rainwater can sit, collect and eventually flood properties and roads.

3 - If it does not have a working soakaway or drainage channel

A driveway made from permeable materials won't need planning permission if it has a working drainage channel or soakaway because these developments drain excess water away, preventing flooding.

4 - If it changes or impedes the visibility on your road

If anything in your driveway's construction affects the visibility of drivers on your road (removal or addition of trees, gates and walls), your driveway will require planning permission.

5 - The driveway is attached to a listed building

Listed buildings don't have statutory protection, but many receive some protection from their Conservation Area or status within your local council. As such, you'll need planning permission for driveways.

When DON'T you need planning permission for driveways?

We've covered the reasons why you might need planning permission for a driveway. Now, let's take a look at times when you don't need it. You don't need planning permission if:

1 - Your driveway is less than five square metres in size

Driveways with a small surface area don't have a noticeable effect on drainage. If your driveway is small, go right ahead!

2 - Your planned driveway is built from permeable materials

There's a number of materials that absorb and redistribute rainwater. Permeable concrete block paving is a popular choice for homeowners considering a new driveway.

3 - Your driveway drains rainwater through a soakaway or drainage channel

Working drainage channels or soakaways allow excess rainwater to drain naturally without the need for permeable paving. If your drainage channel works effectively, you won't need to obtain permission for your driveway.

How do I get planning permission for a driveway?

You can request planning permission on the Planning Portal. Registering an account is easy and shouldn't take long.

What are permeable and impermeable materials?

We've spoken a bit about permeable and impermeable materials for your driveway. But what actually are they, and what types are available for use?

Permeable materials are solids that allow water to pass freely through them. Driveways built from permeable paving slabs drain rainwater effectively and prevent pools from forming. The most common permeable surfaces used for driveways are strong and durable enough to allow for effective usage. These are:

  • Loose gravel
  • Reinforced grass or gravel
  • Porous asphalt or porous concrete
  • Permeable block paving slabs
  • Permeable resin bound paving (Most expensive)

In contrast, impermeable materials do not let water through their surface, allowing rainwater to pool and congregate instead of soaking naturally. Examples of impermeable materials include:

  • Clay
  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Tarmac

How do you drain water from your driveway?

Driveways can be drained effectively through drainage channels, soakaways and rain gardens. But what are these developments and how expensive are they? Your main options for draining water from your driveway are

  • Soakaways
  • Drainage Channels
  • Rain Gardens

What is a soakaway?

Soakaways are plastic crates that are buried in holes in the ground. These crates absorb excess rainwater, allowing for effective drainage until the water finally seeps into the ground.

Designed to withstand copious amounts of surface and roof rainwater, soakaways are used all over the UK. Without them, our cities would be absolutely flooded with water.

How much are soakaways?

According to Checkatrade, homeowners with small, easy-access front gardens can expect to pay around £750. For more complex designs, soakaways tend to cost over £1000 and take a number of days to install.

What are drainage channels?

Drainage channels are grated watercourses that allow drained water to flow away from areas with high levels of surface water.

How much are drainage channels?

According to Checkatrade, drainage channels can cost from £20 to £480 depending on the length, depth and materials you choose. Thanks to their easier installation and design, they are a cheaper option than soakaways.

Ultimately, there's a lot to consider when you're thinking of a drainage solution for that new or replacement driveway. You should always consult with your local planning authority to work out the best solution.

What are rain gardens?

Rain gardens are lower areas of ground next to driveways that water naturally flows into. People decorate this swampy bit of turf with plants and shrubbery - hence the term 'garden'. During heavy rainfall, rain gardens can help run off the worst of the flooding.

Rain gardens are a great choice for homeowners looking for a more aesthetic solution to their drainage problems. However, a decent amount of space needs to be allocated.

How much are rain gardens?

Depending on your available time, finances, size of your lot, and type of soil, rain gardens can actually be a fun DIY job. All you need to do is redirect and slope the driveway towards the rain garden. You could expect to spend just £150 on plants and accessories.

Creating a permeable driveway

So, homeowners have two options for creating a permeable driveway:

  1. Use permeable material or natural vegetation
  2. Direct water away using a channel or soakaway

Ultimately however, your choice is limited by a number of factors:

  • The type of soil present in your front garden
  • Whether the driveway slopes
  • Whether or not the existing front garden experiences water logging
  • The amount of space available for construction

Do I need planning permission for a dropped kerb?

If you live on a classified road (A, B and C roads), you'll require planning permission from your local council or planning authority. Dropped kerbs also need to be approved by the Highways Authority. The average driveway requires at least five sections of kerb to be dropped.

How much to drop a kerb?

Depending on how many kerb sections need to be dropped, the job can cost from £600 to £1500.

Will a driveway increase the value of my home?

Yes, a driveway could increase the value of your home by at least 5 - 10%. To guarantee this sum, your driveway must be made from permeable materials, and be in good condition. Get an instant valuation of your home using our free Online Valuation Tool.

Should I build a driveway before selling my house?

If you have the time and money to invest in a new driveway, then it could be a great way to add some value to your home. Just make sure your property’s ceiling price has not been reached, otherwise you won’t be able to squeeze any more money out of your investment. Read our guide ‘How to add value to your home’ for more information.

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