For many of us ‑ particularly city dwellers ‑ off-street parking is the Holy Grail. But to turn the area in front of your property into a car park you need a dropped kerb. Read on to find out how to go about getting one.
What is a dropped kerb?
This is when you remove the existing kerb stone and put a ramp across the pavement giving a smooth transition between your property and the road. Parking a vehicle across a dropped kerb is a contravention and either police or local councils can penalise drivers who do it. This is included in the Highway Code (Rule 243).
Is a dropped kerb difficult to get?
This depends on where you live and the location of your property. A council might judge it to be too dangerous if your newly created drive will mean pulling onto a busy A road. Or it may consider your property too close to a junction or pedestrian crossing.
If you do live next to a principal or classified road (A, B or C), you may need planning permission as well as local authority permission.
On some streets where there isn’t already off-street parking, councils don’t allow it. A dropped kerb might mean two parking spaces are lost when only one car will be removed from parking on the road.
And a council will need to be satisfied that the space you’ve earmarked for a drive will be big enough for a car. You can’t have the car overhanging and obstructing the pavement.
How much will it cost?
Unfortunately, there is no standard price. That depends on where you live in the country. Generally speaking, the richer the area, the more a council will charge for the privilege of dropping a kerb. Some will do it for free; some will charge more than £1500.
The result is, it could set you back anywhere between £300 and £2000 for the whole job. This depends on how wide the section of pavement that needs dropping is and how much work you need to do on your own land between the building and pavement. And at the end of the process you still don’t own the pavement; that remains the council’s property!
Apply for permission from the local authority (they own the pavements). There will be a charge for this which is non-refundable. It could be anywhere between £50 and £350. If the application is declined, you may get some of your money refunded. If it’s accepted, the application fee may go towards the total cost.
The council may let you choose from a list of approved contractors. Or it may specify a contractor that you have to use.
The contractor should have access to the council’s drawings showing the location of pipes and cables under the pavement. They will then remove the existing kerbstones and excavate the pavement into a ramp. Finally they’ll replace the kerbstones with the dropped kerb and tarmac the pavement.
Having the works done should take a day or two. Going through the application process could take months.
Can’t you just do it yourself?
You could. However, without permission from the local authority you’re likely to see all your hard work undone by council contractors. They’ll simply return your home-made dropped section of kerb to how it was before. And if the work has been done illegally, they’ll then charge you for reinstating it.
What else do you need to consider?
You’ll have to turn your front garden into a hard standing for vehicles. And that may mean removing trees and/or grass and soil. You may also have to take down an existing garden wall, fence or hedge. And you may want new gate posts and possibly gates. Remember to factor in the cost of removing the debris for anything that needs taking off-site and think about drainage too. Some councils will insist that you have a porous surface to reduce the likelihood of contributing to localised flooding.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.