Dropped kerbs are needed to provide smooth access to vehicles and pedestrians from the driveway to the road and vice versa. This access has to pass over a walkway or pathway in many situations.
Dropped kerbs are helpful for several types of users, including drivers, pedestrians, people with special needs who use wheelchairs, cyclists, and many more.
The construction of a dropped kerb in various regions of the United Kingdom is subject to several requirements and considerations. These include permission from the planning department, local council, and highway authorities. Any utility companies whose utilities are adjacent to or can be affected by the construction of the dropped kerb also need to be taken on board. In some cases, you may be required by law to build a dropped kerb, so it is essential to understand all the requirements you need to fulfil.
Is Planning Permission Required for Dropped Kerbs?
Dropped kerbs in the UK usually require planning permission approval from the relevant local council. They do not fall under permitted development rights, and you will have to go through the process of planning permission. How do you ensure that your request for building a dropped kerb is not rejected?
How to Prepare for Planning Permission?
Check with Your Local Council
Requirements for dropped kerb may vary from Council to Council, and you might have to worry about more than one thing. The first step is to research your local rules and guidelines. Visit your local council’s planning department and talk to their representative. You can also check your local council’s website for any online information. Dropped kerbs do not fall under permitted development rights, but you must confirm this from your local council.
Check the Status of the Road
If your planned dropped kerb falls on a public road, you’ll need a special permit from the local highway authority or the local council, depending on whose ownership the road and the pathway fall into. You can check the ownership by contacting the local council. All classified, principal, and trunk roads will also require planning permission.
Submit Correct and Complete Plans
The more accurate your plan is, the higher the chances of acceptance. Your plan should clearly outline the proposed kerb and its impacts on the surroundings. The plan should include proper drawings, not photographs. The measurements should be marked. Remember, the fee for the application consists of two parts: refundable and nonrefundable. If your application is rejected, you will have to redeposit the fee.
Strengthen your case by highlighting how the dropped kerb will improve accessibility for people with mobility challenges. Also, mention how your plan addresses any safety concerns, including visibility for drivers and pedestrians. If you can prove that your planned dropped kerb won’t compromise the safety of everyone, it can positively impact the decision.
Get Professional Help
You can try to apply for your dropped kerb yourself, but you may sometimes require professional services. When submitting your requests, you have to submit technical drawings that you might only be able to prepare correctly if you are a civil engineer or an architect. The proposals for dropped kerbs can be complicated, and approval can be difficult if you are not acquainted with producing accurate drawings and plans.
Some local councils may require that you hire their pre-approved contractors. The list will be available on their website, or you can ask your consultant to get it for you.
Let the Council do the Work
It should be noted that some local councils will carry out all the work themselves for a fee. Some councils need to allow private companies or contractors to do the work. Letting the local council do the work can have its benefits. For example, these contractors often work on such projects and know the exact requirements of the respective local council. This can mean less trouble for you.
Other Tips & Considerations
- Planning permission will also be required if you raise or lower the kerb by 1 meter.
- You have to make sure that you can fit a standard car without letting it overhang the footway. This implies that the kerb’s minimum depth should range from 4- 5 meters, while the width should ideally be greater than 2.5 meters.
- Remember that even if your car is small, the highway authority will prefer their own minimum measurement standard because you can always get a bigger car in the future.
- Utility covers, bus stops, trees, and proximity to junctions can also complicate the approval, so hiring an expert planning consultant is a good idea.
- Ensure that your proposal adheres to local guidelines and standards. This can include aspects like materials, design, and dimensions.
- Make sure to submit all the necessary supporting documents with your application, such as property ownership documents, site plans, and any relevant permissions you might need from other authorities.
- The local council will recommend using a porous surface for any hardstanding in order to avoid increasing the load of the drainage on the drainage system. They may also insist on laying paving blocks behind the pavement to prevent gravel from escaping onto the pavement.
- If your proposal might affect your neighbours, consider discussing your plans with them before applying. Resolve their concerns and show that you are considerate of the impact on the neighbourhood.
- Research before hiring professionals/contractors. Look for those with substantial experience and willing to liaise with the relevant authorities for the necessary approvals.
- Before making any changes to the kerb, it’s essential to coordinate with utility companies (such as gas, water, electricity, and telecommunications) that might have infrastructure located under or near the proposed work area. You might need their permission to proceed.