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Do I need Planning permission?
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Paving your Front Garden

What is asphalt?

Asphalt is a hot mixed mixture of aggregate stone and bitumen. It is used for roads and other paved areas and has now totally replaced tar.

What is block paving?

Block paving consists of small rectangular bricks which are usually made out of concrete and are placed on a level sand bed to form the surface.

Do I need Planning permission?

From 1 October 2008 new rules apply for householders wanting to pave over their front gardens. Please note that the permitted development rights apply only to houses and not to flats.

You will NOT need planning permission if a new driveway 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 the surface to be covered is more than five square metres planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not control rainwater running off onto roads.

The Legislation has been structured to deter homeowners applying for planning permission, causing them to consider alternatives such as permeable or porous paving, or a suitable suds-compliant drainage system rather than go through the rigmarole of paying 150 quid and waiting for up to 8 weeks to see if Planning Permission will be granted to install a pavement that discharges directly to the domestic drains or, in exceptional cases, onto a public highway.

Will my patio be affected?

No: the legislation applies only to paving and hardstanding installed to the front garden, which legalese defines as being the "land between a wall forming the principal elevation of the dwellinghouse and a highway", which in everyday language means the area between front of the house and the public highway (footpath or carriageway), so rear garden patios, courtyards and access paving at the side of the house are not affected.

What if I'm only having my existing drive re-paved?

All paving and surfacing, whether it's new work, replacement, or extension, is subject to the new legislation, so even if you're only replacing your existing flags with a bit of block paving, the work will have to be installed in accordance with the new regulations.

I only want a simple path. Will this have to be permeable?

Not necessarily. The legislation only applies to installations of 5m² or more, so a simple path that was just 5m long and 900-1000mm wide would be exempt.

Does paving need sealing after being laid down?

Sealing paving will bring about considerable benefits but ultimately it is a matter of preference. Many people find that after sealing, the paving will be protected against oil and other stains. Furthermore the fungicides found in the sealant may actually help prevent the growth of unwanted vegetation.

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