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Vehicle access - dropped kerbs

A crossing across a public footpath or verge for your vehicle to get to your property from the road is known as a 'dropped kerb', ‘crossover’ or ‘vehicle crossing’. It must be built to specific standards, approved by the City Council as the local Highway Authority, and in some cases planning permission is needed.

Please note: These pages relate purely to the process of applying to the Highway Authority for your dropped kerb.  You should first ascertain if either planning permission or a certificate of lawful proposed use from the Local Planning Authority is required for the creation of a vehicular access, in addition to the Highway approval. Find out which kind of permission you need from Planning.

Dropped kerbs policy

A vehicular crossing is an area of strengthened, lowered footway and kerb which is used to give access to vehicles from a road, across the footway and onto a driveway or parking area. It is an offence under Section 184 of the Highways Act 1980, to cross a kerb, verge or footway in a motor vehicle except at a crossing point that has been approved by the Council.

The Domestic Vehicle Footway Crossing Policy, approved by Council Cabinet in January 2016, looks to achieve the following objectives:

  • To create a more flexible policy that allows applications for vehicle crossings to be permitted in a greater number of situations;
  • To reduce the number of unauthorised crossings in the City and create a more equitable situation for all;
  • To limit the amount of pavement damage caused by vehicles using unauthorised vehicle crossing across the City and reduce the cost to the taxpayer of funding associated repairs.

The policy ensures that the location and use of vehicle access and dropped kerbs are safe and that they are made to appropriate standards and specifications.

How much space do you need?

Forecourt dimensions

There must be enough space on the forecourt so a parked vehicle does not overhang the footway, park in front of doorways and that manoeuvring on and off the highway can be done safely. The vehicle hard-standing within the property frontage must have the following dimensions:

  • a minimum of 4.5 metres deep at its shortest point by 2.4 metres wide, and set out at 90 degrees to the carriageway;
  • If a new access is to lead to a garage there must be a minimum depth of 5.3 metres to allow door opening.

Vehicle crossing widths

The width of a crossing and its position to the frontage of the property may be influenced by a number of factors such as widths of carriageway, footway or verge, and the width and depth of the area available for parking. In general, the width of a crossing is limited to that necessary to allow its proper use.

The standard crossing width (lowered kerb length) is 2.7 metres. This is the normal width appropriate in most cases.

Where one exists, the boundary fence, wall or hedge should be retained for that portion of the frontage not covered by the footway crossing. This is to protect the street layout and pedestrians from motor vehicles manoeuvring on the footway.

For more information download the vehicle access drawing.

Shared access

Where the occupiers of two neighbouring properties share a driveway and wish to build a double width crossing to serve the two sites, one occupier should act for both parties although the application must be signed by both parties.

In order to maintain the safety of pedestrians on the footway and to retain on-street parking provision, the maximum crossing width (lowered kerb height) for a shared access should not be more than 4.5 metres. The shared drive must normally be positioned centrally between both properties. Where one exists, the boundary fence, wall or hedge should be retained for that portion of any frontage not covered by the footway crossing.

Minimum spacing between crossings

Where a shared access is not suitable to provide adequate facilities for pedestrians, individual crossings shall normally be separated by at least one kerbstone (0.9m of full kerb face) or an absolute minimum of 0.6m of full face kerb.

Second crossings

Normally, to limit any impact on pedestrians using the footway and to reduce the loss of kerb side parking, only one crossing will be permitted per property. However, a second crossing may be permitted where:

  • The property frontage on the highway is a minimum of 12 metres wide, and
  • The property fronts a classified road and the garden is deep enough to allow a drive so vehicles do not have to reverse either onto or off the highway; or
  • The property is in a street where the majority of properties have off-street parking and demand for kerb side parking would not be adversely affected.

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