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Q&A: creating off-road parking

John Conlin / 24 April 2018

John Conlin answers reader questions on building a driveway on the front garden.

Driveway with dropped kerb

Question: can my neighbour demolish boundary wall on driveway?

My next door neighbour has demolished the boundary wall to our adjoining drives and removed one of my pair of gates. The local council says that he was within his rights to create parking space in his front garden without planning permission.


Although it changes the character of a neighbourhood the Council is technically correct. Using front gardens for parking does not require permission where there is an existing drop kerb access. However the wall between the two drives is joint property and legally regarded as a ‘Party Wall’. As your neighbour did not follow the statutory Party Wall procedure you can apply to the County Court for a reinstatement order or compensation in lieu. Seek the help of a local chartered building surveyor with party wall experience.

Find out how to go about dropping the kerb to create a driveway

Question: off-road parking changing the character of the street

My neighbour has started demolishing his front garden wall and intends to lay concrete to create an off-road parking space. If others copy him, I think the road will change for the worse. Do I have any means of objecting?


Assuming you are not in a conservation area or your neighbour’s house is not listed, he has a right to demolish the garden wall abutting the pavement, but he needs planning permission to change the use of the front garden to car parking if there is no existing ‘dropped kerb’ access.

Additionally, building regulations now require all new hard surfaces to be permeable to reduce surface water run-off. If you wish to pursue the matter, contact your local council’s planning enforcement officer.

Question: are concrete driveways banned?

I want to widen our concrete drive to provide parking for a second car.

Two firms have said that they can do it in blockwork, paving slabs or tarmac but regulations prohibit concrete.

Is this true or are they trying to sell me something expensive?


The contractors are at least half right. As part of the general anti-flooding provisions Building Regulations now require all new external surfacing to be porous to reduce the amount of surface water that runs off into drains.

However, in your case, it is an extension and there is a good argument for using the same material. Your local Council Building Control officer may waive the requirement in the circumstances.

Question: is it legal for neighbours to park in their front garden?

More and more people are parking on their front garden, without arranging a formal drop kerb. What is the legal position here? I understand that such parking is not legally recognised and consequently Joe Public is entitled to park in front of such properties. Is this correct?


Technically the planning offence is not the use of the front garden but the unapproved vehicular crossing of the pavement. In planning law permission must be sought for the creation of any access to or from the highway, when permission is granted it is always conditional upon the formation of a dropped kerb to a specific design and standard. Permission can be refused on grounds of road safety or general loss of amenity. Legally, entry and exit in the absence of a dropped kerb can be blocked but it is better to alert the local planning enforcement officer rather than risk personal confrontation.

Question: can we repair our drive with hot tar chippings?

Our concrete drive looks a mess as it has been patched after the mains water pipe was replaced.

The company proposes to coat it with ‘hot tar chippings’. Is this surface suitable?


Hot tar chippings involves spreading a layer of heated tar and sprinkling stone gravel over it while the tar is still warm and soft. When cold, the tar acts as a ‘glue’ binding to both concrete and embedded gravel. It is a low-cost, limited-life, cosmetic treatment.

The main disadvantage of hot tar chippings is that the tar can melt in strong sunshine and stick to your shoes. While resin bonding is more expensive, it is more durable, better looking and doesn't melt.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.