Highways & Access
In order to become a building plot a site needs access — in most areas that means vehicular access
In some urban or city areas, it might be acceptable or even desirable to have pedestrian access only, but more often than not, the requirement for vehicular access is a pre-condition for the granting of planning permission, with that consent containing further stipulations that have to be fulfilled before the permission is operable.
As a self builder, you must take particular care to ensure that these planning conditions are capable of being satisfied within your remit. If they require the action or approval of third parties, then it is important to make sure that there are contracts in place and that any payments necessary are taken into account when agreeing the purchase price.
Most people think that access directly onto a public highway is preferable, but there are a few considerations:
If you directly adjoin the highway then, as long as it is not a trunk or classified road and a new access won’t be dangerous, you do not need permission to form the entrance.
You will need the consent of Highways, or other relevant parties, to cross any pavement. They will also stipulate the construction of the crossover and the details of the dropped kerbs, and it is entirely possible that any works will have to be carried out by an approved contractor.
If the access will cross a grassed verge then, as long as it is not a trunk or classified road, you again won’t need permission.
If there is a gap between the proposed site and the highway in the ownership of a third party, then their consent must be obtained. If this gap has been purposely created as a ransom strip, their consent will only come following payment and you should do all you can to ensure that any such payment is at the expense of the vendors.
If access is required to a trunk or classified road, then the consent of the Highways Agency or local authority responsible for the maintenance of the road will be required; this is normally granted as part of the planning approval. A new access will not be allowed if it involves vehicles entering or leaving the carriageway close to a junction, on a sharp corner or at a blind spot. If the new entrance is allowed it will be subject to conditions, including those concerning gradients, drainage and the position of gates.
If the road will serve a number of homes, then the authorities may require that it and the drains beneath it – together with any street lighting – are constructed to Highways standards and that, once completed, they are formally adopted. This requires that the works are carried out by a single body and that a bond is taken out to cover any necessary remedial works.
Many plots have access onto private roads that have access to the adopted highway:
If a plot is part of the garden of a house that has a right of access over private land, then you must make sure that the right of way is applicable to the new house. If the right of way specifically identifies a house by name or number then it is possible that this right can’t be passed onto the new property.
Rights of access should include the right to bring services into the plot.
Responsibility for future maintenance of a shared private roadway should be decided and set down within a legal framework.
If the access road has no traceable owners, then you would be wise to consider a Single Premium Indemnity Policy with the costs hopefully being defrayed by the vendor.
Those enjoying access via an unadopted road can, if a majority so declare, require its adoption by the local authority. However, the costs of bringing the road, its sewers and lighting up to adoption standards would be borne by each of the residents.
Backland plots may have to share a driveway with the house in front. Infill plots may also be required to share the existing driveway with the original house. But bear in mind:
The right of way should be clearly set out in the transfer documentation.
If additional works are required to bring the driveway up to a standard capable of serving the other house, the costs would usually be borne by the developer — you. Similarly, you would pay for any remedial works following construction.
Terms should preclude any parking that might impede the access of the other party.
The documentation should clearly set out joint maintenance responsibilities.
If a property has enjoyed an unrestricted right of way over land in the ownership of others, then a right of way can be established by long usage. This right is granted by application to the Land Registry. However, it must have been continuous for a period of 20 years or more (although a break of one year is allowed for) and must have been obtained without force, without secrecy and without explicit consent.
The right can only attach to a Freeholder and must not be illegal. It is not possible to establish such a right over land owned by British Waterways, Railways land or Crown land.
Things to Remember When Creating Access
Gates normally require a 45° splay and must be set back 4.5-6.5m from the carriageway and open inwards
Usually, there should be allowance for two cars to be parked, which must be able to enter or leave the property in a forward gear, requiring space for turning
You may have to consider creating a temporary access for construction traffic, as well as provide hardstanding for offloading
Part B5 of the Building Regulations requires access for a fire engine, setting out minimum road and gateway widths, and turn space
Did you know…
You are likely to need to hire an approved contractor to carry out works to the highway — always check with your local authority.
Case Study: Log Lane Farm New Access onto the A442.
The planning application was approved by Telford & Wrekin Council. The decision to grant planning permission has been taken having regard to the policies and proposals in the Telford & Wrekin Local Plan 2011 - 2031 set out below, and to all relevant material considerations, including National and Supplementary Planning Guidance:
Telford & Wrekin Local Plan:
SP3 Rural Area
SP4 Presumption in favour of sustainable development
NE1 Biodiversity and geodiversity
C3 Impact of development on highways
BE1 Design criteria
BE4 Listed buildings
Section 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990
National Planning Policy Framework
The application is for the change of use of land to equestrian use with ménage and creation of new access at Long Lane Farm, Long Lane.
The Local Planning Authority considers that the proposed scheme is acceptable in terms of both scale and design; respecting and responding positively to the context of the application site and surrounding area. The proposed works will be in keeping with the character and appearance of the application site and surrounding area; the works are also considered to result in a modest addition on the application site and will not result in any significantly detrimental harm upon the nearby street scene.
The proposed works will positively impact upon the character of the host listed building, whilst being acceptable in terms of scale, form and design. The proposal will also maintain the essential form, character and special historic interest of the host building, with no historic fabric being lost.
By virtue of its overall nature and scale, Officers are satisfied that the proposal would not result in a detrimental impact upon the residential amenity of neighbouring properties, by way of nearness, loss of privacy or an overbearing impact being caused.
Following the formal consultation period, the Council’s Built Heritage Specialist raised no objection to the proposed works, confirming that whilst there would be a minor change in character to the wider setting of the listed building, this has already been substantially altered. The nature of the proposed works and new access would therefore cause minimal alteration to the setting of the listed building and will not detract from its character, as a building of special historic or architectural interest. The Council’s Ecology and Drainage departments and the Local Highways Authority have also supported the proposed scheme, subject to conditions. No comments or objections have been received from neighbouring properties in this instance.
Wrockwardine Parish Council have commented on the proposed scheme and raised concern in this instance regarding the creation of the new access, due to the busy nature of the road it would be leading on to. This comment has been considered during the assessment of the proposal and formal comments have been received from the Local Highways Authority. Whilst initially, additional information in the form of a plan demonstrating an appropriate visibility splay was requested, this has since been submitted and the Local Highways Authority are now satisfied with the proposed scheme and support the works subject to conditions.
As such, the proposed scheme is compliant with the Development Plan, national guidance contained within the NPPF and within Section 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this application by assessing the proposal against all material considerations, including planning policies and any representations that may have been received, and subsequently determining to grant planning permission in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable development as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. In their assessment they found the application to be acceptable in terms of its impact upon highway safety and the adjacent heritage asset and granted approval.
Case Study: 20 Valley Road, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 3EY.
Further to an initial design consultation with the owner En-Plan formulated a scheme for a new gated pedestrian access and a new gates for te existingf driveway in order to create a secure environment for the owners vehicles.
The planning application was submitted to Walsall Council and a formal consultation process was undertaken which included the Council's Highways Engineers who considered that as Valley Road allows two-way traffic movements and there are no restrictions to car parking along Valley Road thee would be no impact upon highway safety in the locality and recommended approval.
The proposal includes the construction a new boundary fence and gates to the existing driveway at approximately 1.8 metres high and as the permitted development limit for new fencing or gates in front of a property fronting a highway is 1 meters this is the factor that triggered the requirement for a planning application. The Planning Officer in his assessment concluded that there was no negative impact upon visual or residential amenity and therefore approval was granted.
Planning permission is sought for a two-storey side extension, single storey rear extension, and a new detached workshop. The proposed two storey extension would measure 7.5m in height, 8.5m in width and 5.3m in depth and would provide a gym, utility and kitchen diner at ground floor with an officer, bedroom, ensuite and ensuite at first floor. The single storey addition would measure 2.8m in height, 2.9m in width and 5.1m in depth. The extensions would be constructed from brick and render to match the host property.
The proposed outbuilding would measure 3.4m in height, 4.3m in width and 6.5m in depth and would be positioned to the rear of the dwelling. Kensington Road is a varied street incorporating of a mixture of materials such as render, brick and cladding. Dwellings are mainly two or more storeys with parking provide to the front or side. Spacing between properties throughout the road vary with some dwellings positioned closely and others proving parking between plots. Examples of similar developments can be seen throughout the area including single storey and two storey side extensions differing in style and scale.
The original proposal showed a parking layout for 3no. cars with a brick wall located to the front of the site. The Highways Authority confirmed that they found the parking layout to be contrived and provided the following comments:
‘It is difficult to negotiate the two spaces side by side at 90 degrees to the road behind a wall and with the narrow frontage access. The swept path that the vehicles would take do not appear to have been taken into consideration. I therefore recommend that the applicant mirrors the approved parking arrangement for the development next door which can be found on your web site.’
Following these comments, amended plans were provided showing an amended parking layout including a brick wall and sliding gate, and swept path diagrams were provided to show how the proposed configuration will work.
The Highway Authority were consulted on the revised drawings and confirmed that ultimately the drawing does suggest that the arrangement is achievable and therefore, no objections. Following on from this the Planning Officer recommended approval and this was duly granted.
Please CONTACT US for a free no obligation consultation or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to talking through any proposals you may have and how we can help you with any highways or access issues affecting your development.