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Paving over front gardens – Lewisham Council report back for @D_J_Greenwood 19 September 2013

Posted by Alex Feakes in Environment, Forest Hill, Lewisham Council, Planning.

Question: What is the Council’s policy with regard to the paving over of front gardens and the consequent effect that the loss of green space has on amenity and local economy? (Thank you to @D_J_Greenwood for suggestion)

Answer: The Council’s ability to influence the paving over of front gardens is relatively limited. The paving over of front gardens of houses does not usually require planning permission. However, permission is required where the property is a flat or maisonette or where the “permitted development” right has been removed through what is termed an “article 4” direction.

For paving over of a front garden to a permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn to drain naturally, planning permission is not required. However, where the surface to be covered is more then five square metres planning permission will co be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.

Where planning permission is required, the main area of control would be within Conservation Areas where policy 36 of the Development Management Local Plan (Proposed Submission Version August 2013) applies. This states that the Council will encourage the reinstatement or require the retention of architectural and landscaping features such as front gardens.


1. D. Greenwood - 25 September 2013

Thanks again.

I’m disappointed there was no comment on the council’s obligation to protect the visual amenity of these vital mini-green spaces, or indeed to enact change to give them more powers. And there was no comment about the subsequent loss of wildlife and biodiversity when gardens go. This is to be lamented.

No comment about the need to maintain the ecological character of suburban areas – concrete driveways add to the needless urbanisation of greener areas of Lewisham.

No comment about the role vegetation, lawns or mini-meadows will play in protecting London’s outskirts from climate change and the heat island effect already being felt in the city’s centre and more developed areas – i.e. where green space has been concreted over and developed.

Daniel Greenwood

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