HARD SURFACES, DRIVEWAYS, PATIOS AND PLANNING
If you want to add a hard surface, or replace or create a new driveway, patio or other hardsurface in England, you may need planning permission – requiring a planning application to your local authority.
Planning applications cost money, take time, and require an assessment to be made by a local planning authority officer. Your neighbours will be consulted and can object to your proposals.
However, as with any external change to your home, you can undertake certain works without the need to apply for planning permission – subject to ‘permitted development’ rules being met in terms of extension size, type and location.
The relevant rules are set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended.
HARD SURFACES, DRIVEWAYS AND PATIOS – PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT
The construction of driveways or other hard surfaces within the curtilage of a house (or the replacement in whole or in part of an existing hard surface) is permitted development and can usually go ahead without the need for a planning application, other than:
Where the area of ground covered or to be replaced exceeds 5 square metres and will be situated between the principal elevation of the house and a highway (i.e. in the case of a driveway); in which case, the hard surface MUST be made of porous materials, or provision must be made to direct run-off water from the hard surface to a permeable or porous area or surface within the curtilage of the house.
In other words, you will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.
If you want an impermeable surface for your driveway (e.g. tarmacadam), then to create an area over 5m, you’re likely to need planning permission.
POROUS AND PERMEABLE SURFACES
The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced separate guidance on permeable paving (PDF, opens in new window)
SEPARATE RULES APPLY TO:
- House extensions
- Decking, balconies and raised platforms
- TV aerials or satellite dishes
- Chimneys, flues or soil and vent pipes
- Any alteration to the roof of the existing house
- Changes of use
If you live in any of the areas listed below, additional limitations on ‘permitted development’ will apply:
- Conservation Areas
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- National Parks
- the Broads
- World Heritage Sites
Contact your local authority or seek professional advice if you live in these areas or live in a property that is Listed.
REMOVAL OF PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
Permitted development rights can also be removed by your local planning authority, either through the addition of a Condition on a previous planning permission, or through imposition of an Article 4 Direction.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY BEFORE STARTING WORKS
For the purposes of planning, contact with the local planning authority is generally only necessary before carrying out permitted development where:
- ‘prior approval’ from the local planning authority is required under PD rules
- a ‘neighbour consultation scheme’ is in place
- the local planning authority has a Community Infrastructure Levy in place which requires developers to contact the local planning authority before carrying out permitted development. Failure to do this may result in the local planning authority imposing a surcharge on a developer
- the permitted development rights require the developer to notify the local planning authority of a change of use
Schedule 2 of the GPDO sets out when any advance notification is required. If you are in any doubt, contact your local planning department or seek professional advice.
PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS FOR FLATS, SHOPS AND OTHER PROPERTIES
Permitted development rights under Part 1 of the GPDO only apply to houses – they do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings.
The rules above also do not apply to
Converted houses or houses created through the ‘permitted development’ rights for:
- ‘Changes of use’ (Schedule 2, Part 3, Classes M; N; P; PA and Q) or
- ‘New Dwellinghouses’ (Schedule 2, Part 20)
Check out our guides to non-householder PD rights (through the menu at the top of this page).
If a development is over 100 sq m in size, it may be liable for a charge under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Check with your local planning authority whether they use CIL in your area and whether it applies to permitted development.
And Finally …
PD rights are subject to change. The guide above is for general information only and does not constitute advice. Local and site-specific circumstances can differ and affect whether a planning application is needed.
Other consents (such as Building Regulations or notifications under the Party Wall Act) may also be needed.
To determine whether planning permission or other consents are required, seek professional advice or clarification from your local authority before starting works.
TownPlanning.info has an extensive catalogue of articles and guides which help explain the town planning system in England.
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