Changes to the Town and Country Planning Permitted Development Order mean that anyone wanting to replace more than 5m2 (that’s 2.5 x 2m in area – not enough to park anything other than perhaps a Smart car on!) of their driveway, has to apply to their Council for planning permission, if they aren’t going to use permeable paving (letting surface water drain through it, rather than running off to a drain). While the intention of this change is to ensure that the relentless paving over of front gardens doesn’t add to the risk of flooding in urban areas, it is also having the effect of penalising people who simply want to repair, or replace their existing driveways. Surely an exemption to this requirement could be put in place for situations where there will be no change to the existing amount of paved surface?

Why is this idea important?

I have no objection to sustainable development, the prevention of flooding and the concept of returning as much clean surface water to the ground (rather than into a drain) as possible. But, I live on a hill with a steeply sloping driveway measuring approximately 3m x 7m, which exceeds the paltry 5m2 allowance of the regulations. The slope is about 1 in 7, which is too steep for block paving, or gravel. Porous asphalt is unlikely to be an option for such a small area (in commercial terms). The surfacing of the concrete is deteriorating due to the recent cold and wet winters. I would like to have the driveway replaced (like for like) but don’t see why I should have to apply to the Council for planning permission, to do this – I don’t have time to get into all the rigmarole of pre-application discussions, planning applications forms and fees (£150!!), waiting on committee decisions and so on. This is surely unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape for both myself and the local authority? Where is the common sense approach to planning in all this? 

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