Published on 14th February 2014


With the persistent heavy rainfall recently the council wants to remind residents of the planning measures in place to ensure driveways are suitably designed to combat the risk of flooding.

Planning measures have been in place since October 2008 to encourage permeable solutions for new or replacement paving around existing buildings, as part of the fight against flooding. Before the changes, paving anywhere in a garden related to a house or bungalow with any materials was considered to be ‘permitted development’. Effectively there was an automatic planning permission without needing a planning application.

However, permitted development rights have been taken away from new or replacement drives or other hard surfaces, unless permeable paving is used or water drains onto a permeable area within the property. Otherwise, planning permission will be required and this is resisted on policy grounds.

It’s not just domestic drives that are affected. Similar measures have applied to industrial, warehouse, office and shop premises since April 2010.

Senior Enforcement and Compliance Officer, Martin Levick, says: “We need to make sure surfaces are permeable to reduce the risk of flooding. Of course, a small area of paving in isolation is not going to cause major flooding, but it is the cumulative impact of lots of areas around homes and commercial properties being sealed up that creates real problems.”

“An example of this would be The Greater London Authority estimated that paving over front gardens for car parking in the city is equivalent to an area around 16 times the size of the new Olympic Park. Clearly this is on a much larger scale than Cheltenham, but we still need to take advantage of any opportunity to make the town flood proof.”

Cabinet member for Built Environment, Councillor Andrew McKinlay, said: “Planning laws are in place, which affect new or resurfaced front drives, in order to reduce the risk of flooding. It's important to comply with all these rules to avoid action by local authorities and complications when selling your home.

The ‘guide on permeable paving’ can be found on the Department of Communities and Local Government’s website.


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