Dropped Kerb Cost: 2020 Driveway Lowering Prices UK

If you park your car on a driveway outside your house, you will probably already have a dropped kerb to make it easier to access the road.  However, if you don’t, be careful as it’s illegal to drive over a pavement without one. You see, normal pavements aren’t built to withstand the weight of a car and the utilities buried beneath might also suffer from the added load.  

Usually, if you want this work done, you first apply for Planning Permission and then use a Council approved dropped kerb contractor. Unfortunately, this means the average dropped kerb costs will be fixed within a set range, and you won’t have a choice to get the work done cheaply or do it yourself. 

The typical cost of dropping a kerb in the UK for an averagesized driveway (3m wide x 4.8m to 6m long) will be between about £650 to £1650 to replace 5 kerbstones. On top of this, you also pay the usual fees for inspections and Planning Application. However, if you want a dropped kerb for disabled access then you might be eligible for a disabled facilities grant to help with the costs. 

How Much Does It Cost To Drop a Kerb? 

The average dropped kerb costs vary depending on the width of your driveway and the distance from your boundary to the public road (i.e. the width of the pavement). 

On average, the contractor will remove about 5 existing kerb stones when dropping a kerb. However, this will depend on the size of the existing stones compared with the modern  British Standard stones. In their place, the contractor inserts dropped kerbstones to approximately the same level as the road and two dropper kerbstones, one righthanded and one lefthanded to span between the full and dropped kerbs. Bear in mind that the distance covered by the dropped kerbstones must not be less than the driveway width, but might be more depending on the pavement size. Alternatively, a dropped kerb for disabled access need only be the width of a personal garden gate. 

On average, drop kerb prices for a minimum 2m to 2.5m width driveway will be as shown in the table below.  

Number of kerbs  Estimated cost Duration
2  £400  2 days 
3  £550  3 days 
4  £700  4 days 
5  £850  4 days 
6  £1050  5 days 
7  £1150  5.5 days 

 Remember, these costs and durations are guidelines only. Major variations sometimes occur, depending on whether you need trees felled or additional strengthening for the pavement. You also have to remember that the distance from your boundary to the kerb will govern the area to be strengthened. This also increases the drop kerb dimensions and therefore, number of kerbstones to be replaced. 

Additional Cost Factors

A kerb lowering quotation from a professional should incorporate everything involved in the installation. However, there are sometimes extra costs to consider. 

  • Labour rates in London increase the overall labour cost by about 10-20%. 
  • Your local Council will arrange an inspection of the proposed area to be changed. The average price for this will be about £250. But, this might vary depending on the location and which Council you live under. 
  • Planning Permission fees vary depending on the Council. But, on average, the non-refundable fees for a kerb drop will cost between £50 and £400. However, if you’re fortunate, the charges might be credited towards installation charges if they insist on using the Council’s highway contractors. 
  • A tree surgeon might remove trees. Or, you might have to change the landscape of your front garden to improve visibility. Tree removal costs between £75 and £1300 depending on height and location. 
  • Expect garden clearance to cost between £20 and £40 per hour. 
  • Any variations to a standard dropped kerb job will usually cost around £200 per day. 
  • You might have to improve your driveway to comply with the Council’s instructions. Expect to pay about £40 to £80 per square metre. 
  • Expect to demolish part of your boundary wall to accommodate the new access point. If so, you might pay between £100 and £500 depending on the type of wall and its size. 
  • Work of this kind generates garden waste and rubble. So, youll need a waste skip costing about £150 to £200 per skip. 
  • After you’ve installed the dropped kerb, you’ll have some finishing work to do. A fence will cost up to about £100 per panel, while a gate will cost between £50 and £100 depending on size and material. 

UK Planning Permission & Regulations

Your local Council is the highway authority for the area and is responsible for regulating the placement and construction of pavements and dropped kerbs. This comes under Section 184 of the Highways Act 1980. The law states that it is a criminal offence to drive any vehicle across a footpath or verge if there is no proper crossway. And, either the police or local authority will enforce this legislation. The obvious way around this is to have a dropped kerb and suitable strengthening of the footpath. Unfortunately, you don’t own a public footpath or road. Therefore, if you want to lower a pavement for your benefit, you have to apply for Planning Permission to the local Council, and use a contractor from their approved list, which might include the Council’s own highway contractors. 

Don’t forget that if you previously didn’t have a dropped kerb servicing your property, then the chances are that you didn’t have a driveway. Changing a garden into a driveway is officially a ‘change of use’ so will need another Planning Application. The driveway must also be constructed from porous materials, or divert surface water to a suitable drainage point to prevent flooding. So, it’s not just a case of throwing a few paving slabs down onto the grass to park your car. A driveway must be built correctly and legally. 

How to apply for a drop kerb

Unless you can make a good case to the Council that you need a dropped kerb, you will probably find that they reject your application. Therefore, use a qualified civil engineering consultancy with roadway experience to liaise with the Planning office. 

Let’s assume you don’t need additional Permission for change of use of your garden. Then what? 

  1. With the assistance of a qualified professional, submit your Planning Application on the local authority’s website. 
  2. Waiting for Permission, which isn’t a foregone conclusion, might take up to 8 weeks if everything is straightforward or up to 16 weeks if there are complications. During this period, the local authority will organise an inspection of the area to see if there are any problems. They’ll also ask for any objections from your neighbours. 
  3. Assuming the application was successful, you’ll then receive a quote within 10 working days. This might vary depending on whether they need specialist subcontractors such as tree surgeons for tree removal, or information from underground utility providers. Depending on your particular circumstances, there might also be other specialist requirements. 
  4. You will then have 6 months to accept the quotation and pay in full before work starts. If you miss this deadline, you will have to reapply and pay another application fee. 
  5. Having said this, the Local Authority might decide to allocate a subcontractor to you or give you a list of approved contractors to choose from. 

In certain circumstances, you might want to extend a dropped kerb if you are widening your driveway. Unfortunately, you will still have to go through this sequence and apply for Planning Permission. 

Planning Permission Rejections: Common Issues 

Your application might be refused if the Council decides that you don’t meet certain criteria.  Usually, this happens if certain aspects of the application contravene existing national legislation or local regulations. 

Enough room 

There must be enough room in your front garden to park a vehicle and the kerb must be at least 4.8m from the front of your property, and be at least 2.4m wide. Otherwise, there won’t be enough room to park a car off the road. 

Away from a road junction 

The proposed dropped kerb must be at least 10m from a road junction and 15m from major roads. This is to prevent road safety hazards when entering or leaving your driveway. 

Avoid street lamps 

Street lamps and other road furnishings must be at least 1.5m away. This is to avoid line-of-sight problems and ensure that there are no problems with seeing approaching vehicles. 

Good visibility 

There must be good visibility. You must be able to see approaching pedestrians and vehicles. And, more importantly, they must be able to see you so that other vehicles have a chance to slow down. You might have to remove trees, bushes, walls or fences to comply with this.  

Drainage 

However, you must avoid removing healthy tree roots and trees unless you need to remove them for safety reasons. Healthy trees help to absorb excess rainwater and so prevent flooding,  

Provide for excess surface water by building drainage points. This is to prevent surface water from entering and flooding your property. Or, to prevent runoff from your driveway overloading the drains on the roads. 

Ensure crossover isn’t too steep 

The slope from the road to your boundary must not be too steep. This will prevent ‘line-of-sight’ problems when joining the public road. And, will prevent the vehicle’s undercarriage making contact with the ground. 

Choose appropriate contractors 

The contractor must be experienced in this kind of work and be on the local Council’s list of dropped kerb contractors. This ensures that the Council only allows competent contractors to work on the public roads and footpaths. 

Underground utilities 

You must be able to reinforce the pavement to protect underground utilities. An average pavement isn’t designed to accept the load caused by a car. Part of the ‘dropped kerb’ work is to reinforce the pavement to prevent subsidence and to protect underground utility supplies. 

Dropping a Kerb For Free: Government Support

There is a way you can get help with costs. Or, in some cases, have the work done entirely at the Council’s expense. 

If you are disabled and use a wheelchair or a motorised disabled scooter, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Each local authority has its criteria for awarding this. But, usually, the Council’s occupational therapy team will assess whether a dropped kerb is necessary. Then, they might refer you to receive a grant. Remember that you might be asked to contribute a small amount to the total cost, depending on the Council’s funding obligations. 

But, if you live in local authority maintained housing there is usually no need to receive a grant for the work, as it is part of the Council’s obligations. However, a free dropped kerb for the disabled residents will only be granted on the advice of the Council’s Occupational Therapy Team. 

Dropped Kerb Benefits

Having a dropped kerb installed outside your property gives you many benefits, many of which have already been mentioned. However, we’ll bring them all together in this section so you can see for yourself. 

  • The most obvious benefit for having a dropped kerb is to allow you to legally drive across the public footpath to access your property. 
  • A dropped kerb and its strengthened pavement protects the underground utilities from damage caused by the weight of your car. Without the strengthening, you would be liable for any damage done to the pavement or the services that lie beneath. This can work out very expensive. A charge that might be many times more than the cost of a dropped kerb. 
  • The dropped kerb allows your vehicle to mount and drop from the pavement gently without damaging your tyres, wheels and suspension. 
  • It is an offence for anyone to park on the road while blocking a dropped kerb. This discourages people from abandoning their car in front of your driveway and ensures your vehicle can exit and enter your property as needed. 
  • However, if you register your vehicle with the local Council, you can park legally across the dropped kerb servicing your property. This means, if you have visitors, they can use the driveway and you can park across the drop kerb. Remember to notify the Council beforehand otherwise, you might end up with a parking ticket. 
  • If everyone in your street has a dropped kerb, it will reduce the number of non-resident cars parked on the road. This will benefit by increasing the desirability of the area and the value of your property. 

Dropped Kerb FAQ 

Can I object to my neighbours dropped kerb? 

The only time you can object to a neighbour’s dropped kerb is when he or she applied for Planning Permission. If you did not object at that time, then usually you haven’t got a leg to stand on. So, always remember to object at the Planning stage. However, if your neighbour dropped the kerb without Permission, you can and should inform the Council. They will immediately reinstate the raised kerb and charge your neighbour for the work. 

Can you drop a kerb yourself? 

The only way you can drop a kerb yourself is if you are suitably qualified to do the work. However, usually, the Council will only allow their employees or approved contractors to carry out the work.  

Do I need Planning Permission to widen my driveway? 

If you intend widening the driveway without affecting the dropped kerb, then usually you should be okay. But, if the new driveway surface has an area of more than 5m2 and is impermeable to water then you will need to apply for Permission. Furthermore, the original driveway was granted Planning Permission as a change of use from being a garden. But only for its original dimensions. Increasing those dimensions might be classed as a contravention of the Planning Permission stipulations. Furthermore, you might also have to remove trees from your garden and make your gate larger. These might also need Permission. If this is your intention, you should ask your Planning department for advice. 

Is It Illegal to have a drive without lowering your kerb? 

Yes. To change a garden in to a driveway, you require Planning Permission approval. This approval will only be granted if a dropped kerb access is also included in the application. Therefore, if you do not have a dropped kerb, you don’t have a driveway. 

Get Quotes From Kerb Dropping Specialists

To avoid parking congestion on the streets, and to guarantee that you always have a parking place, it’s a good idea to turn part of your garden in to a driveway and have a dropped kerb access to the road. For both of these, you will usually need to submit a Planning Application. We don’t advise that you submit an application or build a dropped kerb yourself. If you want to have the best chance of getting approval, use a qualified professional to design the driveway and dropped kerb. If you want to know the cost to drop a kerb, complete the form on this page and you will receive 3 or 4 quotes from Council approved professionals who can do the job.

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