Garden Design

New Government Rules On Front Gardens In England

New Government Rules On Front Gardens In England

Garden designers need to be aware that from 1 October 2008 new government rules regarding the paving of front gardens come into force.

New Government Rules On Front Gardens In England In urban areas, especially where on-road parking is very limited, many homeowners have removed hedges, grass and plants and replaced them with some form of hard-standing, usually concrete or block-paving. In some places whole roads no longer have any ‘garden’ at the front, just paving for cars. Climate change scientists predict an increase in the number and intensity of extreme storms over the next few decades and the flooding in the Midlands and north of England in 2007 highlighted problems with estimates as high as two thirds of the 55,000 homes being affected by surface run-off water. The cost to homeowners, insurance companies and tax payers is huge and so the government has decided it is time to stop the unregulated paving-over of front gardens.

The Rules In A Nutshell

  • Rules apply to England only.
  • Rules apply to any paved area of more than 5m².
  • Planning permission WILL be required for installation of traditional non-porous materials ie tarmac, block-paving and concrete UNLESS surface water drains onto soft landscaping or into a soakaway.
  • Planning permission WILL NOT be required for installation of porous materials ie aggregates, cellular paving (to contain either grass or aggregates) or new types of porous block paving. (Major manufacturers will be bringing out new products over the next few months.)
  • Householders will be responsible for obtaining planning permission. As well as an application form the householder will also have to provide the planning department with plans drawn to scale and pay a fee of £150. It is hoped decisions should be given within eight weeks of application.
  • Rules apply not only to new construction but also replacement of existing driveways.
  • Rules only apply to front gardens ie between the front elevation of the house and the road.

Designers should ensure their clients are fully aware of the new legislation. It is also vital that contractors use the appropriate method of construction for any of the new porous materials. Some manufacturers provide training courses for their products.

With luck this new legislation will have two positive results: flooding in the long term will be reduced and urban front gardens will become more imaginative.

Disclaimer: this is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information.

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If you have any questions or comments about this article let us know.

© Sharon Brown 16th September 2008

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