Dropped kerbs for vehicle access

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 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.

Primary considerations

The Council is the Highway Authority for all public roads in the City of Coventry. In determining whether to grant permission to an application under s184 of the Act, the Council must consider the need to prevent damage to the pavement or verge and shall also have regard to:

  • The need to ensure, so far as practicable, safe entry to and exit from premises
  • The need to facilitate, so far as practicable, the passage of vehicular traffic on the highway network
  • The need to maintain safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists by ensuring vehicles do not overhang the pavement

In determining permission, the Council will also need to consider any environmental and other factors, such as the presence of trees, green spaces, other obstacles to construction and the impact the application will have on the requirements for on-street parking in the vicinity. Residents wishing to have a vehicle crossing constructed are required to apply to the Council, which in light of the above considerations, may approve the request with or without modifications, may propose alternative works, or may reject the request. Each case will always be considered on its own merits.

Planning permission

The construction of a vehicle crossing may require planning permission as well as consent from the Highway Authority. If the proposed crossing fronts onto a classified road, full planning permission will be required. A list of classified roads within Coventry is attached to this document.
Planning permission is also required, irrespective of the classification of road, to lay impermeable private driveways of over 5 sq. metres in area, in order to prevent rainwater from running off directly onto roads, as this can contribute to flooding.
Where full planning permission is not required, applicants can choose to self-certify that a proposed vehicle crossing would meet Permitted Development requirements or they can make a formal application and apply for a certificate of lawfulness.
A separate planning application fee has to be paid for all applications for a certificate of lawfulness or a full planning application. These planning applications are usually decided within 8 weeks. Within this time the officers will also carry out an inspection to confirm that the forecourt dimensions are within the requirements of the policy and any other matters relating to the application including drainage are picked up within the process.

Dropped kerbs policy

A vehicle crossing is where a pavement is reinforced to take the weight of a car or light goods vehicle and the kerb is dropped to form a ramp. If residents wish to drive across the public pavement or verge to gain access to park on their property, they should apply to the Council to have a vehicle crossing constructed.

The policy is closely tied into the Age-Friendly policy and the Council Plan, which recognise the need for a clear pavement strategy. The Council aims to provide clear, safe walking surfaces for the public and especially for older people. Damaged pavements present hazardous and dangerous walking conditions, so permitting crossings to be constructed helps to reduce the number of locations where problems persist.

How much space do you need?

Forecourt dimensions

A vehicle hardstanding within the property frontage must have the following dimensions:

  • a minimum of 4.0 metres deep at its shortest point by 2.4 metres wide
  • If a new access is to lead to a garage there must be a minimum depth of 5.0 metres to accommodate door opening.

There must be sufficient space within the curtilage (hardstanding area around front of property) of a site to ensure that a parked vehicle does not overhang the pavement or obstruct doorways and that manoeuvring on and off the road can be done safely. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure there is no obstruction of the pavement in order to keep pedestrians, and particularly vulnerable users safe.

Vehicle crossing widths

The width of a crossing and its position relative to the frontage of the property may be influenced by a number of factors such as widths of road, pavement 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 facilitate its proper use.
The standard crossing width (lowered kerb length) is 2.7 metres. This is the normal width appropriate in most cases. In exceptional circumstances, dependent on site conditions, the maximum crossing width (lowered kerb height) for an individual property of 3.6 metres may be applied.
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 scene and pedestrians from motor vehicles manoeuvring on the footway.

Shared access

Where the occupiers of two adjoining properties share a driveway and wish to build a double width crossing to serve the two sites, one occupier should act on behalf of 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 exceed 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 feasible, 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 minimise 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 where a second crossing would enable the formation of a drive and the garden is deep enough to accommodate this so that 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.

Alternative access

It is desirable to minimise the number of new accesses (and associated stopping and turning manoeuvres) onto main roads in order to maintain their importance as traffic routes in Coventry’s road hierarchy. Subject to the technical design standards being met, there will be a presumption that an access onto an 'A' classified road will only be considered for approval if there are no other means of vehicular access to the property concerned. Planning permission is always required for access onto classified roads.

Appeal procedure

Should an applicant for the construction of a domestic vehicle footway crossing be dissatisfied with the response and make representations to that effect, the Council's corporate complaints policy will apply. Where planning permission is refused, the applicant will have a statutory right of appeal dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate.
 

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