Do you need Planning Permission to Convert a Front Garden to a Driveway?

Planning Consultant - Chris Scott
Hi, I’m Chris,
I hold an MA in Planning and work as a Planning Consultant

“Can you Convert a Front Garden to a Driveway?”. The answer is paving your front garden may potentially be possible without the need for a planning application. However, there are a few conditions for this to be true. First, you need to check if your property still holds its permitted development rights, or if they were removed by a previous planning permission or Article 4 direction. Your choice of driveway raw materials will is a key determining factor if you require planning permission. Furthermore, if you own a Listed Building you may need to submit a planning application and Listed Building Consent if the works are deemed to be ‘significant’.

Impermeable Driveway Materials

Standard Tarmac Driveway
A standard Tarmac driveway is impermeable

If your property still holds its permitted development rights you can lay up to 5m2 of impermeable driveway materials, with no provision for the surface water to run off into a permeable area. If you lay more than 5m2 of impermeable driveway materials you will need to direct the surface water into a permeable area. Such an area would be the remaining section of the front garden. Impermeable driveway materials can include certain types of tarmac, concrete drives and pavers, made from either clay or concrete.

Clay Paver Driveway
For a clay paver driveway suitable mitigation is required for surface water

Now, you obviously don’t want to create a surface water flooding issue at the front of your property, and neither does your local authority. Therefore, how you deal with surface water runoff needs to be carefully considered. If you have removed most of your front garden a good way to deal with surface water is a sustainable drainage system, also know as SUDs. An example of this would be to dig out a section of the remaining front garden. Rainwater attenuation creates also known as storm creates are then placed into that hole. The rainwater attenuation creates are wrapped in a geotextile, and then the hole is backfilled with gravel and topped off with soil and grass. This solution acts as a buffer to capture significant amounts of surface water runoff which then slowly soaks into the ground.

If you wish to lay over 5m2 of an impermeable driveway material and you are not able to direct the surface water runoff into a permeable area you will be required to submit a planning application. Directing surface water runoff into sewerage drains is highly discouraged by local planning authorities.

Permeable Driveway Materials

Permeable Tarmac
Permeable Tarmac

The easiest way to avoid surface water issues and planning applications is to use permeable driveway materials. Now, the most obvious material to use is gravel, however, gravel on its own has various aesthetic and maintenance issues. Furthermore, with a gravel surface, you will require a bound hard surface of 2m up to the highway. The reason is loose gravel on the highway surface is a safety hazard. If you are going to use gravel you could consider plastic grid and mesh systems. Plastic grid systems make a gravel drive much easier to live with, I have personal experience of this.

Gravel Drive
I’ve used plastic grids for a gravel drive at my own home to provide a more practical surface to use and maintain.

If you are more interested in a completely bound surface material, there are options available that are still permeable. For instance, you can install permeable tarmac, also known as porous asphalt. There is also the option of a bound resin drive where gravel is mixed with a resin which sets hard. However, gaps between the gravel are maintained and water is able to pass through the bound resin gravel.

Do you require a Dropped Kerb for your Garden to Driveway Conversion?

Do I need planning permission for a dropped kerb?” If you require a kerb dropped as part of your front garden to drive conversion, you may need planning permission. A question to ask yourself, is your new front garden to driveway conversion off a classified or trunk road? If so you will be required to submit a planning application for a dropped kerb.

Planning Help with Garden to Driveway Conversions

If you need more assistance with if you can convert a front garden into a driveway please get in touch. We can discuss if you will need to submit a planning application for the required works. 🙂