Q&A: creating off-road parking

John Conlin / 24 April 2018

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



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.

Answer

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?

Answer

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?

Answer

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.



For more of John Conlin's no-nonsense property maintenance
advice delivered straight to your door every month, 
subscribe to Saga Magazine today!

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.