Last Updated on October 31, 2021

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Driveway?

Zac Houghton

Zac Houghton

Construction expert and founder of Loftera.

Did you know you may need planning permission for changes to your driveway and fines can be £20,000 plus if you don’t comply!

Home-owners are often unaware of planning regulations when it comes to their driveways and could face fines of up to £20,000 and even more financial penalties over any ensuing assets.

That’s because if you profit from the changes, such as now being able to park work vehicles, any financial assets you may have gained by making them, can also be part of any settlement on top of the fine for breaking planning law.

As well as facing severe financial penalties, you may even have to dismantle any work they carried out making it a potential triple whammy if you contravene the planning process.

Here, we look at the do’s and don’ts to help you navigate the planning law when it comes to planning permission for a driveway with the most commonly asked questions:

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Driveway

Table of Contents

Do I need planning permission for a driveway? 

Do you need planning permission for a driveway? Well, the answer is it depends on three main factors. That’s the size of the driveway, the materials you are using and drainage provision. 

You need to apply for planning permission unless the material you are using to build the driveway is permeable (that means it allows liquids or gases to pass through it), the driveway is under five metres squared (or almost 58 feet squared), you can prove rainwater drains naturally on your lawn or flower borders and finally if you have installed drainage or soakaway channels.

So, the answer to do you need planning permission for a drive will depend on whether you meet the criteria outlined above. 

If you don’t want the hassle of applying for planning permission, then keep within the key requirements outlined. 

Do I need planning permission for a driveway in England?

There are different planning laws in different parts of the UK and also in different local authorities. The system works by having broad planning laws for the UK as a whole, which may then differ by devolved countries and even regions, which is why it’s always useful to check first. 

Where do you need planning permission for a driveway is outlined in our first point and applies generally throughout the UK, but it is always worth checking there are no local regulations which differ, for example, if you live in a conservation area, if you live in a listed building or if you are a leaseholder. 

You can normally get the information you need online from the planning department of your local authority (council) and it’s always good to have as much information on hand, such as the size of the driveway and the material you want to use so you can make changes to your plans to avoid the planning process or to start a planning application. 

Do I need planning permission to widen my driveway?

If you’re thinking about altering your driveway then the same rules apply as outlined previously, so as long the proposed widening does not exceed the under five metres squared criteria and you fulfil the drainage and material requirements, then you don’t.

The same answer applies to those asking do I need planning permission to extend my driveway? Basically, any alterations to the size whether by width or length may affect whether it is still under the five-foot square rule. If the alterations will make it larger than that, then you will need to contact your planning department.  

Similarly, people often ask do you need planning permission for block paving? Again, if the changes to materials affect the criteria ie: in terms of being permeable and drainage, then yes you may do. 

Do I need planning permission for a new driveway?

Do I need planning permission for a drive is the same answer whether it is a new driveway or if you are considering alterations and asking do I need planning permission to extend my drive or other alterations to an existing one.

The same criteria as outlined previously applies in terms of size and drainage. So, do I need planning permission to build a driveway, will depend on whether your proposed plan meets those regulations? 

Do I need planning permission to tarmac my drive?

This depends on the type of tarmac you use. Most tarmac is permeable or semi-permeable so check which type you will be using. If it is permeable then you should be allowed to tarmac your drive without planning permission as long as it meets the other regulations in terms of exemptions we have outlined in question 1.

Similarly, one of the most common questions we’re asked is do you need planning permission for a block paved drive do you need planning permission for block paving?

Again, this will depend on whether the blocks are permeable, which means they are allowed (again as long as you meet the other exemption criteria) and also that you have the regulated drainage. 

Patios and paving

The same planning laws also apply to people who are considering large patios and paving in their front garden. So, make sure these too comply in terms of size, permeability and drainage.

In this article, we have shown that you can build or alter your driveway without planning permission but that this is subject to staying within the strict criteria outlined. The reason for these restrictions is to avoid flooding and other issues that could happen if large areas of land are not able to drain properly.

It makes sense then to try and stick within the regulations if you are thinking of changing your driveway and don’t want the additional hassle of trying for planning permission and the regulations still allow you to have a good size driveway for the average property.

Remember there are potentially severe financial penalties if you breach planning regulations and you could find you even have to do undo all your hard work and remove it if you do breach the law!