Planning Permission for Driveways – What do You Need to Know?

There are numerous things to keep in mind when looking to pave your driveway, from the type of surface that you want to lay to the materials required when completing the job.

Interestingly, some of your choices may also incur the need for official planning permission, which is probably something that you did not have in mind when you initially conceived the project.

But what exactly do you need to know about this, and when will you require planning permission for your new driveway? Let’s find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Permeable Surfaces May Not Require Permission: Using materials like gravel, permeable concrete block paving, asphalt, or cobblestones for your driveway can avoid the need for planning permission, as these allow rainwater to drain through.
  • Impermeable Materials Over 5m² Need Permission: If your driveway is larger than five square meters and you use impermeable materials like traditional concrete, you'll need planning permission.
  • Front Garden Paving Rules: The discussed rules apply specifically to paving front gardens. Additional constructions like walls, fences, or work on patios and driveways in areas other than the front garden might have different regulations.
  • Complex Projects Require Permission: Projects that involve creating new access across a public footpath or garden space, such as dropping kerbs, usually require planning permission due to the complexity and potential impact on public infrastructure.
  • Material Choice is Key: The material you choose for your driveway, such as paving slabs or cobblestones, can impact the need for planning permission. Permeable materials like cobblestones generally don’t require permission, making them a practical choice.

When Will You Need Planning Permission for Your Driveway?

In simple terms, you won’t need planning permission if you intend your new driveway (regardless of its size) to use permeable or porous surfacing that allows liquid (such as rainwater) to drain through.

Gravel, permeable concrete block paving or asphalt and cobblestones are all examples of porous surfacing, so using these materials will negate the need to obtain any kind of permission from the local authority.

You may also avoid having to obtain planning permission in instances where the rainwater is directed to a lawn or nearby border naturally. You can achieve this with an in-built trench or drainage system, but this is often not an option when you’re paving over your front garden completely.

However, if you pave a surface that’s more than five metres square and use an impermeable material like traditional concrete and asphalt to complete the project, you’ll need to apply for planning permission from the council.

At this stage, you should note that these rules only cover the paving of your front garden. This means that any additional works pertaining to walls, gates and fences may require separate planning permission, so it’s important to keep this in mind when kick-starting the project.

There may also be different rules for patios and driveways that aren’t part of your front garden, while flats, maisonettes and converted houses are subject to variable guidelines depending on their location.

Occasionally, paving your driveway may require you to create new access into an existing garden space or across the footpath.

This type of work is considerably more complex than a standard paving project, so you may require formal planning permission from your local council to drop any nearby kerbs or strengthen the public footpath where required.

The reason for this is simple; as the council is tasked with protecting any services that are buried in the ground, including water pipes and electric cables.

Of course, standard planning restrictions will also apply to other building types and areas where there may be an existing condition that limits development rights.

Your Project and Planning Permission – The Key Considerations

As we can see, there are some restrictions that make planning permission unavoidable when paving your drive, especially if you’re carrying out additional works to fencing or extending your driveway across a public footpath.

However, one key variable that you can control is the material that you use to pave the driveway, as this can have a direct impact on whether or not you’ll ultimately require planning permission.

For example, paving slabs can be used to create a robust and impermeable driveway, but when laid on surfaces larger than 5 metres square this will require you to request planning permission.


Paving slabs can also only be used in instances where extra-strong groundworks have been done, and you’ll need to liaise with the local council to ensure that this is the case.

At Primethorpe Paving, our cobblestones are also suitable for driveways, with this versatile material available in limestone, sandstone and granite. Our cobblestones are also between 30mm and 50mm thick and incredibly hard-waring, creating a reliable investment that delivers genuine value for your money.

Most importantly, cobblestones are also permeable, and therefore won’t require you to request planning permission when laying your driveway.

Ultimately, the key is to compare all available materials in detail, before making an informed choice that suits your budget, ragtime and aesthetic expectations. 

However, if you are keen on negating the need for planning permission and avoiding any potential delays or complications that arise as a result of this, there are viable options that don’t require you to compromise on the quality of durability of your new driveway.

If you’d like further advice on this or would like to browse our full range of paving materials, feel free to visit us at or contact one of the team today!

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