Cost Effective Driveways

There are specific circumstances which may trigger a requirement to apply for planning permission for a driveway and these are:-

  • If you are paving more than five square metres of driveway and/or it is not a permeable surface which provides its own drainage. You may need to consider a permeable surface as an alternative. A less than five metre square driveway is called a ‘wheel tracks’ driveway – one that literally just has two paved tracks where the wheels of the vehicle go
  • If you are changing the visibility on your road, this might include removing trees or adding plants, trees, gates or walls to your project. Any plan that adversely affects the driver’s visibility will require planning permission
  • If you own a listed building, then you will need planning permission as the listing status doesn’t just apply to the house but the land that surrounds it
  • If you need to add a drop kerb, then you will need planning permission as homeowners do not have the authority to change pavements and roads. A dropped kerb may be because you are changing garden to driveway, or you could be expanding an existing driveway to front onto a new section of pavement

Planning permission for a driveway is not normally required when widening a driveway but it be required if it affects the front elevation of the house and street scene of your home, and the proposal is for a driveway which is more than five square metres of traditional, impermeable material that does not allow water to run into a permeable area like a lawn or flower bed. If the widening project requires demolition of part or all of a boundary wall, then planning permission may well be necessary. If widening the driveway involves replacing lawn or other vegetation areas with hardstanding, then this will need planning permission.

If your property is on a bend or has an unusual orientation in relation to the road, then it may not be quite so straightforward to establish which is the principal elevation. Always take professional advice if you are unsure.

If you are wondering “Do i need planning permission to widen my driveway” and you live on a busy road it is safer and cheaper to reach out for advice than to risk a fine for not having permission. A property in a busy road is far more likely to impact the local environment than a property standing on its own in a rural area. However, each project should be evaluated on its merits.

The costs of planning permission for a driveway

Applications for planning permission for driveways usually cost in the region of £206 which is payable to the local authority. There may be other costs such as professional fees for a planning consultant or architect to produce drawings for the project. These costs can run into several hundreds of pounds.

Planning permission has a shelf life and will expire if the scheme is not implemented. Planning permission also relates to the project as presented to the local planning authority. Any material changes will need approval and could require an entirely fresh application.

The advantages of widening a driveway

A wider driveway is more advantageous than a longer driveway as it means cars can park adjacent to one another rather than one behind the other which makes it easier for a busy household with different daily routines to access their vehicles.

Wider driveways make it easier to turn vehicles around to get in and out and offer more scope when it comes to loading and unloading. More space means cars don’t always have to be parked in exactly the same location which can leave marks or indents on some driveway surfaces.

Phil Spencer gives some tips on planning permission:

If you are wondering “do i need planning permission to widen my driveway?”, there may be other aspects you also need to consider like the cost of pouring concrete for a new or existing driveway, the costs associated with the removal of an old driveway, and the average cost to resurface a driveway.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my driveway installer be able to confirm whether or not I need planning permission?

Most professional driveway companies are used to local planning requirements and can advise you whether your project is likely to need consent or, how you can change the materials or design to fall within the regulations. However, it is not the ultimate responsibility of the contractor to check the regulations and so the buck stops with the householder.

What is permitted development?

Permitted development or PD refers to the changes that a homeowner is allowed to make to the interior or exterior of their property without the requirement for planning permission.

What if I make an error and widen my driveway without planning permission when it was required?

If your driveway widening project requires planning permission and you have failed to obtain it then you will need to make a retrospective application. It is possible that permission may be denied but in reality, any concerns are usually made conditional to the application being successful.

How long does a planning application take?

A good average to work to is eight weeks from the date of application through to consent and this assumes there are no objections or problems en route. Most local planning authorities will indicate on their website how long applications are taking. A planning officer may request a site visit as part of the assessment process but not always, it depends on the nature of the project and the design.

Does planning permission cover shared rights of way and shared access?

Some householders have easements for other people to use their driveway to gain access to their own land or property. Matters which concern legal access and rights of way should be dealt with by a solicitor although they may be mentioned on the planning application.


Do I Need Planning Permission for a Driveway

Paul Robinson
Hi I'm Paul. After years in the mathematical field, I went on to help rescue a flooring and driveways company and spent 10 years building the company. I’m a property expert with extensive driveway and home improvement industry knowledge.
Mike Alexander
Hey there, I'm Mike - writer and part time home improvement expert at Refurbb. Since owning and refurbishing my own property in 2018, I've since been developing rental properties, writing about my home improvement endeavours, sharing what I've learned and connecting readers to reputable tradespeople in the UK.

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