Do I need planning permission for a new driveway?

Richard Partington

Published on: 15 January 2020

Bradstone Driveway Block Paving in Buff

Your home might be your castle, but you can’t go digging up your driveway however you see fit.

While you may have carte blanche to change what you like indoors, new driveways come with their own special set of rules which are designed to make sure your paving preferences don’t create long-term issues, like flooding or poor visibility on any adjoining road.

To see if you need planning permission for your new driveway, read on.

When you will need planning permission

You don’t always need planning permission for your driveway, but there are certain circumstances which mean you will need to submit an application before you start your driveway paving project. These circumstances include:

If you are paving more than five square metres of driveway and/or it doesn’t drain through a permeable surface. This is because flood risk increases with surface area. As such, you will need to consider permeable paving for your driveway project instead. See our Infilta pavers for your options.

If you are changing the visibility on your road. This might include removing or adding trees, walls or gates. If any changes you implement adversely affect drivers’ visibility, you will need planning permission.

If you need to add in a drop kerb. If you are expanding your driveway, for instance, you might be considering a drop kerb. However, residents cannot change the pavement or roads at their whim, so you will need to speak to your local council before applying for planning permission.

If you are making changes to a listed building. The need to protect historic buildings also affects planning decisions. You will also have to check that your property doesn’t fall under Article 4 directions. This gives local councils the ability to intervene on planning decisions for a variety of reasons.

When you don’t need planning permission

Bradstone Woburn Rumbled Infilta Permeable Block Paving in Graphite

While planning permission for driveways is fairly widespread, there are certain criteria that mean you might not need to go through the application process after all. These include:

If you are paving less than five square metres of driveway. A small driveway will have little effect on drainage, so you can go ahead with paving if you only need to make a small addition.

If you plan to use permeable materials. Permeable paving blocks allow rainwater to flow through the joints naturally, thereby minimising any flood risk. A popular choice for driveways is a combination of permeable block paving and permeable aggregates; these look almost identical to standard block paving – and they also help you bypass applications for block paving planning permission.

If rainwater drains naturally. If your driveway slopes towards a drainage ditch or flows into your garden/grass, you shouldn’t need to worry about planning permission.

Applying for planning permission for your driveway

In England, you will need to contact your ‘Local Planning Authority’ (LPA), which you can find via Planning Portal. Here, you will need to provide information such as dimensions of your new project, proof of property ownership and architectural sketches of your plan.

Your LPA is usually your town, city or county council, but the Planning Portal website can take you through the process and typically you’ll only need to contact your council if there are problems or if you have specific questions.

While your local council will be your first point of contact for questions relating to planning permissions, here at Simply Paving we provide expert advice on which paving stones to use - once you get the all-clear, of course. Start a live chat or give us a call on 0800 032 6306.