Page last updated 06 November 2014
Dropped Kerb 

Apply for a dropped kerb

We are responsible for regulating the placement and construction of dropped kerbs (otherwise known as vehicular access) within the public highway.

How do I request a dropped kerb?

It is essential that you have read the guidance notes provided below for information on potential costs involved and also conditions which may have a bearing on your eligibility.

If you feel that you are eligible based on the information within the guidance notes you can either apply online or you can print off the application form and return it to the address on the document.

Guidance notes for applicants

Vehicular accesses, also known as "dropped kerbs", are an increasingly common sight in residential areas. They grant greater security for parked cars from both random accidents and malicious acts, reduce vehicle insurance premiums and have a noted upward effect on the value of a property. Under Section 184 of the Highways Act 1980 Highway Authorities have the power to permit the construction of vehicular accesses to private properties.

Unfortunately they are also a source of risk on the highway, with Department of Transport figures stating that 12% of all collisions between a pedestrian and a vehicle involve a vehicular access in some way. Therefore Northamptonshire County Council, acting as the Highway Authority, has a duty to regulate the placement and construction of vehicular accesses within the public highway.

Other authorities

If the location of your proposed access is on a classified road (i.e.: an A-, B- or C-road) then it will be necessary to obtain planning permission from the relevant borough council’s planning department prior to obtaining a licence.

Should the location be within a conservation area then you will need to contact the local town or parish council for any additional requirements that they may have.

Also, be aware that in some towns (notably Corby and Wellingborough) there are many grassed areas that are not publicly maintained highway but are looked after by the borough council. Should you wish to cross such land (and it is your responsibility to determine if such is the case) then you would need to obtain permission from the relevant council.

Conditions and limitations

We have placed a number of criteria that a property must meet in order for a construction of a vehicular access to be permitted. These criteria are drawn from accident statistics, central government guidelines and local policy requirements.

Some of these criteria can be relaxed if a resident of the property is the holder of a valid disabled Blue Badge. It may also be necessary for additional work to be done in order for an access to be constructed.

The following criteria must be met by your property in order for construction of an access to be permitted:

  • Space: There must be an unobstructed space of at least 5m deep by 3m wide within the bounds of your property.
  • Entrance and visibility: If sightlines are unobstructed from a height of 1.2m there must be at least 3m of space at the boundary of your property and the highway boundary to form an entrance. If this visibility requirement cannot be reached then a minimum entrance width of 5m is necessary.
  • Entrance and visibilityCorners and junctions: There must be at least 10m between the entrance to a junction or sharp corner and the location of the proposed vehicular access. (See figure 1.) 
  • Obstructions: There must be no street furniture such as street nameplates or street lighting at the location of the proposed access. It may be possible to arrange for such features to be moved, but the cost for any such works would be borne by you.

The following circumstances will cause your request for construction of a vehicular access to be denied:

  • Pre-existing access: If there is already a vehicular access to the property then a second one may not be constructed.
  • Parking: If the proposed access would exit into pre-existing public parking, such as a lay-by or pull in, then its construction would not be permitted.
  • Traffic calming: If there are traffic calming measures (speed humps and cushions) in the carriageway in front of or adjacent to the proposed access then it would not be permitted.
  • Trees: If there is a tree (or trees) in front of your property such that any constructed access would be closer than 1m to the trunk. This is increased to the width of the tree’s canopy if there is an access on the other side of the tree in question.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and that there are other circumstances that may prevent the construction of a vehicular access.

Costs

We cannot provide quotes for the total cost of the works as the work is carried out by private contractors. However, it is likely to cost between £1500 and £2000.

There is a licence and inspection fee of £200.00, but this should not be paid until the licence is being applied for. This fee can be paid directly by you or by the contractor.

How to apply for a dropped kerb

  1. Complete the online or paper form:
  2. You will be notified by post regarding the success of your application – this can take up to 28 days.
  3. If your application is successful you will, with the letter, receive a list of contractors approved by the county council for this type of works. We will not issue a licence to a contractor not on this list.
  4. Once you have chosen a contractor they will obtain the documentation we require and then send it to our office where we will issue the licence to them.
  5. Works will usually commence within two to three weeks of the licence being issued to your contractor.

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