The process of dropping a kerb varies massively around the UK and depends on your particular local council, all of which have a slightly different process in dealing with dropped kerb applications.
The process is confusing, largely because kerbs are often maintained by the council itself – you will rarely own the kerb outside of your home.
Consequently, the cost of a drop kerb is subject to regional variation. Each council has its own approach to dropping a kerb and will usually provide you with a list of contractors that meet the requirement for highway construction.
This article will cover how the costs involved in dropping a kerb in the UK, factors affecting the cost and other common questions.
Costs of Dropping a Kerb
The primary variable when dropping a kerb is the number of kerbs you wish to drop. The majority of kerbs are built to a standard specification of 914mm in length. Most driveways require 3 dropped kerbs at a minimum.
Using publicly accessible council data and quotes from 6 driveway constructors, we found these average prices for dropping a kerb in the UK. Prices include labour and materials.
Prices increase from some 10% to 20% extra in the south of England to some 40% or higher in London. Some councils (e.g. Surrey) quote that prices can rise to some £4,000, though this would probably entail some excavation work or moving access points.
|Number of Kerbs||Pavement Width||Pavement Width 2m - 2.5m||Pavement Width 2.5m - 3m||Pavement Width 3.0m - 3.5m|
Extra Dropped Kerb Costs
Extra costs are mostly associated with moving various utility access points, tree excavation and drainage. The inspector or contractor will let you know if there are any points worth raising in your application.
Where the council supplies the quote, they should also quote you in for additional costs as shown below.
|Reinforcing the Pavement||£300 - £500|
|Tree Excavation / Removal||£300 - £1500 (rarely permitted for larger trees)|
|Moving Access Points||£300 - £750+|
|Drainage||£300 - £750+|
|Moving Lamp Posts and Traffic Lights||£1,000+|
Application and Licence Costs
Some councils charge for applications and highway work licences separately, some seem to roll the cost into one overall charge.
Dropped kerb applications range from just £35 in Tameside (for quotation only) to some £80 in Dorset and Merthyr Tydfil, £103 in Broxbourne, £125 in Surrey, £179 in Wokingham and as much as £320 in Kent (though they return £150 if the application is declined).
Some councils (e.g. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) separate the highway work licence and the application fee, so you’ll need to pay both (£110 and £330 respectively for BCP council).
Other councils (e.g. Surrey and Tameside) provide a survey/quotation as part of the fee. Others (e.g. Kent and West Sussex) charge one fee for both the application and licence.
When Do You Need to Drop a Kerb?
Dropped kerbs, also called crossovers, provide a means to access the highway from your driveway.
Many houses with driveways will have a dropped kerb already. However, if you convert your front garden into on-premise parking, you may not have a dropped kerb outside of your home.
You may have been parking somewhere else on your road or street instead, meaning you’d have no use for a dropped kerb. When you construct a new driveway (e.g. by paving over your front garden), you’ll need to cross from the road to your driveway.
Many driveway contractors can carry out both jobs at the same time (driveways with dropped kerbs), but there are strict eligibility criteria for contractors constructing dropped kerbs.
If you wish to hire a private contractor to drop a kerb, either with or without a driveway installation, then they must:
- Have full NRSWA staff accreditation
- Public Liability Insurance, usually a minimum of £10,000,000 but sometimes less depending on the council
- Hold a licence for working on the highway
- Full service/utility breakdown of the pavement and drawings for the location
- Conform to the Codes of Practice under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991
- This is your responsibility and you’ll have to clear the contractor with the council prior to undertaking work
In summary, if you choose to add a new driveway to your home, convert your front garden area into a driveway or extend your driveway, you may need a dropped kerb. You cannot access your driveway over the kerb – this will damage both your vehicle and the kerb and is a criminal offence.
Process of Dropping a Kerb
As many will already know or have heard, the planning process in the UK can be quite convoluted.
The dropped kerb application process doesn’t appear to be straightforward, but your council should be able to provide you with clear and direct guidance. Whilst the process seems stringent and very strict, most councils will send someone round to check your kerb and discuss any potential problems.
- The first step is to find your local council by inserting your postcode into this government service. This will direct you to your council’s planning section where you can find information on the dropped kerb application.
- You must then check whether or not your dropped kerb requires Planning Permission. In other cases, dropped kerbs fall under Permitted Development, but you may still need to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate (also called a Certificate of Lawfulness). More on this below.
- If you do need to obtain Planning Permission then you must obtain this prior to making your application for the dropped kerb. They are two separate processes.
- Some councils require detailed scale drawings of the proposed dropped kerb, others require just a sketch or photograph of the proposed works. You must contact your council to find out what information they need from you prior to submitting an application. Application fees are typically non-refundable so it’s important to get it right the first time. The council may instead choose to send someone round to inspect the kerb, or point you in the direction of a civil engineering consultancy who can produce a scale drawing for you. This is an extra cost worth avoiding where possible, so always ask the council first.
- Many councils will provide you with an inspection as part of the application charge. Someone will come to your home, inspect the driveway and kerb and check for any obstructions like trees, access covers and drains.
- You’ll then likely be provided with a quote for the works. Because dropped kerbs are on council property, it’s simpler to go with the council’s recommendation. You can choose your own contractor if they comply with certain rules listed above. This is often the cheaper option.
- Your contractor must apply for a licence to work on the highway. These are only valid for some 2 weeks and can cost an addition £200 to £300.
- The work will usually be added to your council’s construction schedule to be completed in some 6 to 8 weeks on average. If you work with a private contractor then the work will follow their own schedule.
It seems like a convoluted process for dropping a kerb, but so long as you can get in contact with someone at the council, they’ll be able to walk you through the process. It’s worth mentioning that dropping the kerb on the vast majority of quieter residential roads is quick and easy, and you’re unlikely to encounter snags or problems. After all, dropped kerbs do also benefit the council in the long run too.
Do I Need Planning Permission For a Dropped Kerb?
Whether or not you need planning permission for your dropped kerb depends primarily on the road you’re backing onto. Any major trunk or classified roads will likely incur planning permission.
Planning permission will also apply if you’re planning on paving over your garden to create a driveway in the process. More details on the Planning Portal.
|Type of Road||Planning Permission Required?|
|Trunk Road||Full planning|
|Classified Road||Full planning|
|Neither Trunk nor Classified Road||Full planning|
|Neither Trunk nor Classified Road||Lawful Development Certificate|
|Neither Trunk Road nor Classified Road||Lawful Development Certificate|
Dropped Kerb Criteria Self-Assessment
To avoid wasting your time and money with planning permission and council applications, you should perform your own self-assessment to see if your dropped kerb is viable.
Virtually all councils in the UK subscribe to these universal criteria:
Your vehicle can’t overhang the driveway. There must be a 5-metre distance between the nearest kerb boundary and your garage, allowing you to fit your car/vehicle on your driveway without obstructing the pavement. Additionally, your driveway should be 2.4m wide for each vehicle you intend to park. Parallel parking is also possible and will require a driveway of 7m x 3.6m at least to allow you to drop the kerb.
If your dropped kerb is closer than 10m from a junction or 15m from a busy junction then a dropped kerb may not be permissible for safety reasons.
You must retain some 2m of visibility from the footpath when entering/exiting your drive. Visibility along the path should be unobstructed to make entering/exiting safe.
If your dropped kerb is likely to obstruct other parking bays or lay-bys (e.g. passing places) then refusal is more likely.
Dropped kerbs that result in the destruction of green buffering space are more likely to be put under greater scrutiny. Most dropped kerbs must remain 1m away from a tree. Established trees will rarely be movable for the purposes of a dropped kerb.
Lamp Posts, Access Holes, Pipes and Other Obstructions
It’s often possible to pay to move these obstructions in the construction of a dropped kerb, but this may not always be possible. Other possible obstructions include utilities (e.g. broadband lines), drains, street furniture and electrical wiring. Moving these in the process of constructing a dropped kerb may be tricky and/or expensive.
As mentioned, if you want to install a dropped kerb in a reasonably quiet residential street then you’d rarely find much of an issue unless you have to navigate obstructions.
Dropped Kerbs for Disabled Access
If someone is registered disabled then they can apply for financial help if they wish to construct a small dropped kerb for wheelchair access only.
The process varies between councils but will often be handled by the Environmental Health department of the District Council or Borough. Occupational therapists and social workers can refer you and support your claim.
This will often involve an assessment that the disabled person requires a dropped kerb for wheelchair access. If approved, the council will usually fit a small dropped kerb for free.
Get Prices on Dropped Kerbs Near You
We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a dropped kerb.
However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.
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