Wednesday 3 July 2013

Paving the Way to Yet Another Concern for Conveyancers

Recent changes in Permitted Development rules aim to apply sustainable drainage (SuDS) to new or replacement paving around existing homes protect against flooding of properties.

Coveyancers can find useful guidance at here.

Historically conveyancers need not concern themselves with enquiries about such works. Paving anywhere in a garden related to a house or bungalow with any materials was considered to be ‘permitted development’ – effectively, planning permission without a planning application was automatic But not any more. As awareness of the restrictions grows, there are calls for the legality of recent paving to be covered in conveyancing pre-contract enquiries.

Permitted development rights no longer apply for new or replacement drives or other paving unless permeable paving has been used or unless the water drains into a ‘rain garden’ area within the curtilage of the property. In England, these measures took effect in October 2008 and apply to paving over 5m2 and in the front garden only. But in Scotland, they apply to work initiated after 6th February 2012 for paving of any size between the house and any street-not just to front gardens.

To satisfy the requirements, there is a growing choice of concrete block systems available from manufacturers, designed specifically for permeable paving. Essentially they have the same impressive performance as conventional precast concrete paving products, being slip resistant, durable, strong and sustainable. If, as a conveyancer, you discover that new paving has been put down at the property, you will need to check whether planning permission was obtained or if work falls within Permitted Development rules.

Building Regulations do not generally apply to paving. However, you will need to make sure that any alterations do not make access to the dwelling any less satisfactory than it was before. So, for example, changing levels to introduce steps where none existed before would be a contravention of the regulations. If a new access has been created into the garden across a footpath,you will need to obtain copies of the  permission from the local council to drop the kerbs, and the pavement may need strengthening. This regulation protects any services buried in the ground such as water pipes.

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