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Can I Object To Neighbours' Dropped Kerb?

18 January 2022

A dropped kerb, also known as a vehicle crossing, is something that any homeowner can apply for from their local council. If you are living next to someone who is looking to have a dropped kerb constructed outside their home and you think it would have a negative impact on yourself or the rest of the neighbourhood, you might be wondering if you'll have the opportunity to register your objection with the local council.

What Is A Dropped Kerb?

Installing a dropped kerb outside a home allows creates a vehicle access point by removing paving slabs and creating a lower kerb, as well as other works that may need to be done to make it safe. If anyone wants to have off-street parking, including a driveway, by law they need to have a dropped kerb installed. Without a dropped kerb, it is against the law to drive a vehicle across a footpath or pavement to access a driveway.

Once a dropped kerb application (and the usual fees) is submitted to the local council highway authority, they will go through a process to decide whether or not it is viable in that location. They will take into account safety considerations, the impact on the neighbourhood, and how a dropped kerb may impact necessary street furniture. For example, the application may be rejected for the following reasons:

  • Insufficient visibility may make using the parking space dangerous (e.g. too close to a road junction or bend)
  • Obstacles that may prevent the use of off-street parking (e.g. street light, trees, utilities, road sign)
  • There isn't enough space for a car to use the driveway safely (e.g. there must be enough space in the front garden for a car not to overhang the footpath)
  • If there is an existing dropped kerb for the property, the application to extend it may be rejected

In some cases, planning permission will be required before a dropped kerb will be installed, but not always. In many cases, a visit by a highway authority inspector is sufficient to get the go-ahead. Full planning permission will usually be required under the following circumstances:

  • If the home is on a trunk road, principal road, or a classified road (A, B, or C)
  • If the home is a listed building or is located in a conservation area
  • If it isn't a single-family home (e.g. it's split into flats)
  • If the footpath will need to have its level raised or lowered by a large amount

The creation of a driveway also doesn't always require planning permission, especially if it is created using porous materials such as loose gravel.

Is It Possible To Object To Neighbours Dropped Kerb?

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The question of planning permission from the county council is an important one when it comes to objecting to a dropped kerb. If it is a situation where planning permission isn't needed, unfortunately, there is no recourse for a neighbour to object to the creation of a dropped kerb to create a vehicle crossing. The decision is made entirely by the highways authority of the local council and notice isn't given to neighbours nor is there an avenue through which a neighbour can make a complaint or object to a dropped kerb.

If, on the other hand, the installation of dropped kerbs for a vehicle crossing requires planning permission, there will be an opportunity for a neighbour to object. This is because, for all planning applications, the local authority is required to notify neighbours of the application. Specifically, they are required to notify anyone with an interest in a neighbouring land, which is defined as an area or plot of land where any part of it is within 20 metres of the boundary of the land.

If your neighbour does apply for planning permission for a dropped kerb, you will receive a letter outlining the plans, with diagrams. You will then have 21 days in which to respond to the dropped kerb application. To object, you will need to write a letter to your local authority quoting the planning application number. Your local authority may have a specific section on their website for planning application objections, otherwise, you can send an email.

When writing up your objections to your neighbour's dropped kerb, it is always a good idea to avoid some common mistakes that people make when objecting to planning permission.

Common Planning Permission Objection Mistakes

  • Do not start a petition. If there are several neighbours that want to register their objection to the neighbour's drop kerb application, is far better for each to make their own objection in their own words than to present a petition.
  • Try to avoid speculation. If you think that your neighbour may be planning on using the dropped kerb access in ways that they shouldn't, that won't be relevant since it isn't something that has actually happened. Try to stick to the present facts exactly as they are.
  • Don't make personal comments about your neighbour. They might well be the neighbour from hell and their dropped kerb may be the straw that broke the camel's back but their personality and character aren't relevant in any way to a planning application. And, in fact, it can make your position weaker to make personal comments.
  • Don't mention property prices. There are some effects of a dropped kerb that will incidentally affect your property prices (e.g. increased noise) but these will be considered by the planning department on their own merit and not in relation to local house prices.

When objecting to a planning application, it can be a good idea to mention things like the visual effect on the local area, how it may change the character of the neighbourhood, concerns about increased noise, loss of privacy, etc.

If you want to make absolutely sure that your planning permission objection to your neighbour's dropped kerb contains everything that it should, you could hire a planning solicitor to help you write it up.

Objecting To a Neighbour's Unregistered Dropped Kerb/Off-Street Parking

Photo Credit - Adobe Stock

If you have a neighbour who is using a vehicle crossing that you suspect may not have been permitted by your local council, this is another situation where it is within your rights to object to its use. Any dropped kerb access to a front garden must have been approved by the local council or planning authority and it must have been constructed by approved contractors.

If your neighbour is using a driveway without a dropped kerb (i.e. driving across normal foot-paths to get to it), this is illegal. Driving over a normal footpath has the potential to cause damage not only to the footpath itself but also to any utilities that may be underneath. Part of creating an approved dropped kerb to gain access to a driveway is ensuring that the pavement and anything that may be underneath is supported and reinforced enough to prevent any damage. If you report your neighbour for their use of an illegally dropped kerb, even if it was created years ago, they may face enforcement action and they will be warned to stop their use.

If your neighbour does cause any damage by driving across the kerb, they will be liable for it. If they have created a dropped kerb themselves, they will be liable for the cost of returning the footpath to its original state. And they may even be liable for the costs of installing bollards to prevent access to the driveway.

On-Street Parking If a Neighbour Is Using Driveway Illegally

If your neighbour has created a driveway (and/or a drop kerb) without permission, this changes your rights to on-street parking compared to approved dropped kerbs. With an approved drop kerb, road parking in front of it is against the law because your neighbour would need to have vehicle access to their home at all times.

On the other hand, if your neighbour is using a dropped kerb or driveway illegally, you are still perfectly entitled to on-road parking outside their home and you can block their access to their driveway without worrying.

Can I Use My Neighbours' Dropped Kerb?

If you live in an adjoining property with your neighbour and you share a driveway, and one of you has applied and had installed a dropped kerb, this will be a wide enough one to serve the entire driveway and you will be able to use it as well.

If you are unable to have a dropped kerb installed for whatever reason but your neighbour has one for their property only, generally you will not be able to use their dropped kerb to access your front garden. This is because you will at some point need to drive across a footpath, which goes against public highway laws. In this instance, unfortunately, you will need to make do with on-road parking instead.

So, Can I Object To Neighbours Dropped Kerb - The Bottom Line

If you have legitimate concerns about a dropped kerb and/or driveway being installed in one of your neighbours' properties, you may be wondering if you can raise your objection. Local authorities have the ultimate decision-making power when it comes to dropped kerbs and, if it doesn't need planning permission, they will make the decision alone. This may not be too much of a worry because they will be taking into consideration many of the same concerns that you may have into account, including the dropped kerb's effect on the street and other vehicles. If the dropped kerb requires planning permission, you will be notified and you will have the opportunity to put in your objection in writing.

Thank you for reading our article and we hope you have all the information you need to answer the question of ''can I object to neighbours dropped kerb.'' If you want further information on dropped kerbs read our piece on the cost of a dropped kerb and if you can have one installed for free! Head on over to our blog section today!

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