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Can I Convert My Front Garden Into A Parking Space?

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Bracknell, like many other areas of the country, especially in the South East, has seen an increase in car ownership year-on-year. Countrywide something like 45% of households have at least one car with nearly 20% owning two cars. This increase in car ownership has resulted in many smaller homes and homes in urban areas having to rely on limited street parking, sometimes heavily monitored and regulated by local authorities.

Many homes have a garden in front of them and it is tempting to take advantage of this area to accommodate off-street parking. In many cases this has been allowed but there are several things to consider first. They include;

  1. Do you have permitted development rights which will allow you to pave an area of garden or otherwise ‘develop’ it without planning permission?
  2. Is your property within a conservation area, in which case you probably don’t have the rights referred to in (1) above.
  3. Is there an existing dropped kerb at the property? If not, you will need to apply for one and the council will consider the application under Section 184 of the Highways Act of 1980.
  4. The council will consider factors including the position of street furniture, fire exits, main entrances to your home, impact on the local amenity, effects on surface water drainage, access and visibility from the road, etc.

Most councils will require you to use a porous material (such as gravel) on any new hardstanding so as to reduce the additional surface water drainage into the sewer system. Commercial developments will be required to incorporate oil interceptors to skim oil from large car parks and forecourts. Domestic property is unlikely to have to meet such high criteria.

If granted a dropped kerb, the council or its preferred contractors will undertake the works to the kerb and any works to the pavement deemed necessary. The kerb might cost £500 – £1,500 or more, but additional costs may be incurred. Laying new hardstanding on your land and making provision for drainage will be your responsibility.

In the first instance, it is probably best to speak with your local planning department and their highways department in the first instance.

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