In deciding an appeal against a south London council’s refusal to grant a certificate of lawfulness for a vehicle crossover, an inspector has distinguished between ‘porous’ and ‘permeable’ hard surfacing.

This was of interest to the Smart Planning team having dealt with a number of vehicle crossover and driveway applications in the recent past.

The council considered that the vehicular crossover would not fall within development permitted under Schedule 2, Part 2, Class B of the GPDO, the inspector recorded. She explained that this permits the construction of a new means of access to a highway, which is not a trunk road or a classified road, provided that access is required in connection with other permitted development.

In this instance the vehicular crossover was proposed in connection with the paved front garden, which would be used as a car parking space. The inspector further explained that the creation of a hard surface incidental to the enjoyment of a dwellinghouse is permitted development under Schedule 2, Part 1, Class F of the GPDO, subject to certain conditions and limitations.

Development is permitted providing condition F.2 is satisfied which requires that where the hard surface is at the front of the property, and the area covered by the hard surface would exceed five square metres, either the hard surface is made of porous materials or provision is made for water run-off within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse. She identified the dispute between the parties as concerning whether or not the existing hard surface in the front garden was porous.

The inspector reasoned that the block paving of the front garden would be porous if the blocks themselves allowed water to pass through. On the other hand, it would be permeable if there were open voids across the surface of the block paving to allow water through to the underlying substrate. She noted that there was no information before her regarding the nature of the blocks and whether or not they were constructed from porous materials. In terms of permeability, the paving had been partly pointed, which she considered was likely to have the effect of infilling the voids and restricting permeability.

The inspector concluded that it had not been shown that the hard surface would be permitted development as condition F.2 had not been satisfied. As a result, it had not been shown that the vehicular crossover would be required in connection with other permitted development, the car parking space provided by the hardstanding. Consequently a certificate of lawfulness was denied.

13 November 2018