Dropped kerbs/vehicle crossings

Driving across pavements and verges can cause considerable damage to the pavement, underground pipes and cables, and vehicles. A crossover strengthens the pavement and prevents such damage. It's illegal to drive over grass verges or pavements unless a dropped kerb is in place.

Guidance notes on applying for a dropped kerb

Before submitting an application for a dropped kerb, ensure you have read the following guidance.

When you apply for a crossover, we will inspect the site and make the necessary measurements. 

We have a responsibility under the Highways Act 1980 (section 184) to maintain the safe and free flow of traffic on the highway, and approval of an application depends on the property frontage complying with all the requirements set out in the council's Domestic Vehicle Footway Crossover Policy.

All applications are processed on their own merits. No previous policy or policies will take precedent to the current policy.

You must read the Domestic Vehicle Footway Crossover Policy (PDF) [5MB] prior to applying for a crossover. This will give you a good idea of the suitability of your application.

1. Forecourt dimensions

There must be sufficient space within the frontage of your property to ensure that a parked vehicle does not overhang the footway and that manoeuvring on and off the highway can be carried out safely.

  • 4.8 metres is a standard bay length that caters for the vast majority of cars currently on the market. A vehicle hardstanding should be at least 4.8 metres deep and set out at 90 degrees to the carriageway.

New short frontage criteria

  • A crossover may be offered where the frontage is an absolute minimum of 3.8 metres deep (for parking at 90 degrees to the carriageway), and the vehicle does not overhang onto the footway for the smaller cars.
  • Crossovers may be approved for properties where the hardstand depth is at least 3.2 metres deep and 9 metres wide, especially for shared crossovers, and the vehicles do not overhang onto the footway, endangering pedestrian safety.

2. Width of crossovers

  • A single crossover must be a minimum of 2.4 metres wide.
  • Where a property has a hardstand significantly wider and can accommodate multiple cars, crossover width may be widened up to maximum width of 5 metres or 50% of the width of the frontage of the property - whichever is greater.
  • A wall, fence, or permanent landscaping must be erected to physically prevent vehicles crossing over an area of footway that has not been strengthened, to ensure pedestrian safety while also avoiding the need for council funds to be spent on damage caused by illegal crossings.

3. Highway trees

  • A crossover may be refused if excavation will disturb the root protection zone of any trees located on the highway; this zone is calculated by measuring the circumference of the tree at chest height (1.5 metres) and multiplying by a factor of 4 (as defined in the National Joint Utilities Guidelines).
  • If the council's tree officer agrees that a tree may be removed to accommodate a new crossover, the applicant shall pay for the removal of the existing tree and replacement elsewhere with a new highway tree. Furthermore, any trees planted within the last 2 years may be relocated at the applicant's expense.

4. Grass verge

  • The application may be permitted where the highway grass verge or any highway amenity area is less than 4 metres (from the carriageway kerb line to the property threshold).
  • Grass verges play a critical role in allowing water to infiltrate into the ground. In critical drainage areas or areas at flood risk, the applications within these areas may be refused after consultation with flooding team.

5. Street furniture and traffic calming

  • Crossovers should be located at least 1 metre from lamp columns or other street furniture.
  • If this is not possible, the applicant will incur the cost of repositioning the lamp column/street furniture. It is not always possible to find an alternative suitable location for lamp columns/street furniture, and therefore the crossover may not be approved.
  • Where crossovers are requested adjacent to traffic calming measures (eg speed humps and pedestrian refuges), these will be relocated in exceptional circumstances only if approved by our road safety team, and at the cost to the applicant.

6. Drainage

Surface water must be captured within the site and should not discharge from the front paved area onto the public footway. Materials will not be considered permeable where bedded on an impermeable base. The applicant must comply with the requirements for sustainable drainage, as per the guidance, otherwise a separate planning permission is required.

7. Illegal crossing, obstruction and enforcement

  • Crossing of footways that are not specifically strengthened for vehicular usage use causes damage that can lead to dangerous footway defects. These can cause injury to pedestrians and expose the council to litigation claims. We will use power under Section 184 of the Highways Act 1980, as well as Section 16 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003, to enforce illegal crossings.
  • In cases where obstruction is caused by a vehicle parked on or overhanging the highway, the council will take appropriate enforcement action under section 137 of the Highways Act (1980).
  • In the case of breach of the crossover policy, the council will take enforcement action and reserve the right to remove the crossover. The cost of removing the crossover will be covered by the resident.

8. Planning permission

  • The council's Domestic Vehicle Footway Crossover Policy (PDF) [5MB] explains whether you need to apply for planning consent. If your property does require planning permission, the appropriate forms can be found on the council's planning web page.
  • Where planning permission is required, you are advised to apply for this first. Only after your planning permission has been approved should you submit a completed crossover application.
  • Please note: Highway approval for the construction of the crossover must be obtained even if planning approval has been obtained (from Planning, or by appeal through the Planning Inspectorate).

Planning permission is not usually required for a crossing, but will be if:

  • the property involved has a frontage directly on a   classified road (PDF) [30KB]
  • the property involved is a listed building
  • the property involved is anything other than a house for a single family - eg a flat, a maisonette, or commercial or industrial premises
  • the works for a vehicle crossover includes the demolition of a front wall more than 1 metre in height
  • the parking area within the site does not meet minimum requirements for drainage.

9. Disabled applicants and discounts

If you or a household resident has a substantial and permanent disability (for 12 months or longer) and experience difficulty in accessing your home, you may be eligible for financial assistance towards a vehicle crossing. Please contact Social Care Direct by emailing socialcaredirect@hillingdon.gov.uk or calling 01895 556633.

If the proposed crossover is within a footway improvement scheme, the crossover may be constructed at a 50% discounted rate. Applicants will be advised accordingly and given the opportunity to delay the installation to coincide with the footway works.

Page last updated: 21 Apr 2023