Vehicular footway crossings can be built either by the council or by a private contractor working to the council specification.
The construction of a vehicle crossing does not give the occupier of the premises any particular rights, except to drive across the footway to gain access to his/her property with a private or light goods motor car, the crossing itself is part of the public highway.
From the date that the council accepts the completed crossing, they will assume responsibility for its maintenance at no cost to the occupier, apart from any damage caused by illegal use by heavy vehicles, etc.
Is planning permission needed?
Planning permission is not usually required for such work, but will be if the property involved:
- has the frontage directly on to a classified road
- is a listed building
- is other than a house for a single family, such as a flat, maisonette, commercial or industrial premises
If it appears that your property comes within one of the above classifications and planning permission is required you should contact the council on 0191 427 7000.
Permitted types of vehicles
A domestic vehicle crossing may only be used by a private light goods or similar vehicle. It may not be used by heavy goods vehicles or mechanical equipment.
If a delivery, such as a skip, is made into the property, and in doing so the delivery damages the crossing, any repairs will be the responsibility of the occupier.
Size of the crossing
The width of a standard crossing is 2.44 metres at the back of the public footway. This increases to about 4.58 metres at the kerbline.
Crossings up to twice that width or two separate crossings may be built where there is sufficient space to leave a continuous length of two metres of unused space at the kerbline.
Where the occupiers of two adjoining properties share a driveway, and wish to build a double width crossing to serve the two sites, one occupier should act on behalf of both parties.
Parking within your property
Your application will not be approved unless you are able to provide a suitable parking area within your property, this must be at least 4.8 metres long, measured from the front of your house to the boundary of your property and 2.44 metres wide. There must be enough space around this area for pedestrian access. If the width of your property is more than 8m these conditions may not apply.
There may be instances where the above criteria are not met. In such cases approval may be given, subject to a site inspection by a Highway Inspector. The Highway Inspectors decision as to whether the application will be approved or refused is final.
No part of a vehicle parked within your property may project on to or over the highway. The crossing may not be used as a parking area and no part of it is exempted for the purpose of footway parking.
The parking area within your property must be built so that water does not drain from it across the footway. Suitable drainage must be provided within the boundaries of your property.
Obstacles to construction
If the proposed position of the access is obstructed by a road sign, lamp post, or tree, etc. the location should be altered to avoid the obstacle. If this is not feasible, a decision will have to be made by the relevant section as to whether the item should be removed or relocated.
If a statutory authority is required to carry out work by relocating a fire hydrant, telegraph pole etc. any charges for such work will be the responsibility of the applicant, who will be required to produce written proof of approval by the authority before a crossing can be built.
If an applicant wishes the crossing to be placed in a location that requires the relocation of a lamp post, tree or similar item, which would not otherwise be necessary, he/she will be required to pay the full cost of relocation.
Alterations to your vehicle crossover
The council may need to alter the layout of your vehicle crossover at any time, due to modifications in the footway or verge. Every effort will be made to maintain access to your property and the occupier of premises so affected will be given adequate notice of such works.
Any application for the construction of a domestic crossing may be refused or modified on the grounds of safety. The applicant must ensure that adequate sight lines are maintained to allow safe access to their property.
Gates across vehicle entrance
Gates fitted across the vehicle entrance to your property may in no circumstances open outwards across the footpath or carriageway ( Highways Act 1980 - Section 153).