Dropped Kerbs in Local Authority Maintained Homes: Accessibility and Process

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A dropped kerb, also known as a curb cut or curb ramp, is a modification to a sidewalk or pavement to provide a smooth and accessible transition between the pedestrian pathway and the roadway. It is typically a sloped or lowered section of the curb that allows for easy movement of pedestrians, wheelchair users, and individuals with mobility devices to cross from the sidewalk to the road safely or vice versa.

dropped kerbs

Why Do You Need to Install Dropped Kerbs?

Dropped kerbs, those magical little slopes on the sidewalk have more benefits than you might think! Firstly, they make life easier for parents with strollers, allowing smooth transitions from the sidewalk to the road. Say goodbye to back-breaking lifting!

Secondly, dropped kerbs are a lifeline for wheelchair users and people with mobility challenges. And let’s not forget about the perks for delivery drivers and cyclists. It enables greater independence and inclusivity, facilitating their movement and participation in daily activities. People can address these specific needs and enhance their quality of life by applying for a kerb drop.

Furthermore, individuals may seek to obtain off-street parking as a convenience and to ensure the safety of their vehicles. By having a kerb drop, they can create a designated space on their property that allows easy access and parking, minimising the need to search for parking spots on the street. This can be particularly valuable in areas with limited parking availability or where vehicle security is a concern.

Some Key Advantages of Installing A Dropped Kerb

Dropped kerbs offer several benefits, including:

  • Easy access for your vehicle to mount and drop the kerb without damage.
  • Prevention of others from parking in front of your property, ensuring unobstructed access to your driveway.
  • By registering your automobile with the city, you can block the dropped kerb by parking on the street and create room for a second car in your driveway.
  • Increased desirability of the neighbourhood due to more houses having off-street parking, resulting in fewer cars parked on the street and assurance of always having a parking space for potential buyers.

Cost of Dropped Kerb for Vehicle Access

The cost of installing a dropped kerb in the UK can vary depending on location, local regulations, and the project’s specific requirements. Mind that the cost typically includes the installation of the dropped kerb itself and associated works such as obtaining permits, adjusting the pavement, and ensuring compliance with local regulations.

On average, the cost of a dropped kerb installation in the UK can range from £1,000 to £3,000 or more. However, it’s crucial to consult with local authorities or contact a qualified contractor for an accurate estimate, as the cost can vary significantly between different regions and based on the project’s complexity.

Separate Application for Planning Permission

When considering a dropped kerb installation, it’s important to note that the planning permission application differs from the planning application process and typically requires a separate fee. The specific fees involved will vary depending on your local council. To ensure clarity and accuracy, it’s advisable to visit the planning section of your council’s website. There, you can find comprehensive information on the fees associated with obtaining planning consent and the step-by-step process to follow.

Additional Costs

Dropping a kerb may involve additional expenses depending on your circumstances, significantly impacting the overall cost. Various factors can influence the final price, including:

  • Relocating items such as bins, street lamps, or benches may incur additional costs.
  • If trees obstruct the kerb installation, hiring a tree surgeon for removal might be necessary, leading to extra expenses.
  • Clearing debris and waste generated during the kerb dropping process may require additional fees.
  • Relocating utility access points like meters or cables can contribute to the overall cost.
  • Strengthening or adjusting utility pipes to accommodate the kerb drop may incur supplementary charges.
  • Ensuring proper drainage in the area may involve additional expenses for installation or modifications.
  • If a boundary wall obstructs the kerb installation, costs for wall removal might be necessary.

Considering these potential factors and associated costs, consulting with local and reliable tradespeople is advisable. Seeking their advice and expertise can help you anticipate and navigate potential challenges, providing valuable insights for an informed decision-making process.

Financial Assistance for Dropped Kerb Installation

To receive financial support for installing a dropped kerb, you must be registered as disabled. The available assistance varies depending on your housing situation.

Disabled Facilities Grant for Homeowners and Private Renters: Applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant is necessary if you own the house or privately rent it. Typically, this application is submitted through the environmental health department of your local council.

Council Criteria and Assessment Process: Each council sets its criteria for the Disabled Facilities Grant. An assessment by the occupational health team is usually conducted to evaluate the need for the modifications.

Application by Spouse, Partner, or Landlord: Spouses or partners of disabled individuals can apply for the grant on their behalf. Likewise, landlords with disabled tenants are also eligible to make the application.

Requirements for Grant Approval: The modifications must be necessary to meet the disabled person’s needs and feasible within the local area and the type of housing. Additionally, the disabled person must intend to reside in the property for the grant’s duration, typically five years.

By understanding the application process and meeting the requirements, individuals with disabilities can access the financial support available for dropped kerb installation and related modifications.

  • These rules apply to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and Scotland has a different modification process.
  • Check your local council’s website or contact them for process details and advice.
  • Funding amounts vary: Up to £30,000 in England, £36,000 in Wales, and £25,000 in Northern Ireland.
  • Eligibility and grant amount depend on needs, household income, and savings (typically over £6,000).
  • Higher-income may require contributing to the project cost.
  • Payments to approved contractors can be made directly or through you.
  • If self-completing the work, grants may cover materials only.
  • Starting work before applying may result in grant refusal.
dropped kerbs

Why Do You Need Planning Permission for A Dropped Kerb?

In the UK, planning permission is necessary for installing a dropped kerb in the UK for various reasons. It ensures that the installation complies with safety and traffic management regulations, considering factors like visibility and pedestrian crossings.

Planning permission also ensures compliance with accessibility standards, accommodating the needs of pedestrians and individuals with disabilities. Preserving public space, including trees and green areas, is another consideration.

Additionally, planning permission allows for an assessment of potential impacts on neighbouring properties and on-street parking, ensuring a balance between accessibility and the needs of the community. By obtaining planning permission, authorities can carefully evaluate the proposed installation to ensure it aligns with regulations and community requirements.

Not all situations call for applying for planning permission when installing a dropped kerb. However, there are specific circumstances that necessitate seeking permission. These include:

Property Located on Major Roads: If your property is on major roads like classified roads (A, B, or Class III), planning permission will be required for a dropped kerb.

Listed Building Status: If your property is listed as a historic building, obtaining planning permission becomes necessary before installing a dropped kerb.

Conservation Area Designation: If your property is situated within a designated conservation area, applying for planning permission is mandatory for a dropped kerb.

Non-Single-Family Homes: If your property is not single-family, such as being divided into flats or multiple dwellings, planning permission will be needed to install a dropped kerb.

Demolition of Boundary Wall: Planning permission is necessary when a boundary wall measuring one meter or higher needs to be demolished to facilitate the dropped kerb installation.

Considering these circumstances, it is essential to check with the local planning authority to determine if planning permission is required before proceeding with a dropped kerb installation.

How to Apply for A Dropped Kerb?

To apply for a dropped kerb in the UK, you will generally need to follow these steps:

  1. Begin by contacting your local council’s highways department or transportation authority. They will provide the necessary information and guidance on the application process.
  2. Request an application form for a dropped kerb from the council. You may be able to find the form on their website, or they may send it to you via mail or email.
  3. Typically, you will need to submit documents along with your application form. These may include site plans, photographs, and other supporting documents that illustrate the proposed location and design of the dropped kerb.
  4. Consult the council’s guidelines or speak with their representatives to understand the technical requirements for the dropped kerb installation. This includes dimensions, materials, and accessibility considerations.
  5. Fill out the required form accurately, providing all the required information. Ensure that you include any supporting documents as specified by the council.
  6. Some councils require an application fee to process your request. Check the fee amount and payment method specified by your local council and make the necessary payment.
  7. Submit your completed application form, the supporting documents, and the application fee to the designated department of your local council.
  8. Once you have submitted your application, the council will review it based on its criteria and policies. They may conduct a site visit or request additional information if needed.

It’s important to note that the process may vary slightly between different councils, so it is advisable to consult with your specific local authority for up-to-date information regarding the application process for a dropped kerb in your area.

Application Processing Fee

An application fee may be involved when applying for permission to install a dropped kerb in the UK.

The application fee covers the administrative costs associated with processing your request. The specific amount of the fee can vary depending on the local council and its policies.

Attached with this fee is an additional fee for a council inspector to assess the feasibility of the proposed dropped kerb. Some councils combine these fees into a single payment, while others charge them separately.

In cases where they are separate, the inspection fee is often refunded if the planning application is rejected. The fees are usually presented as a fixed price, clearly indicated before you begin your application.

You must check the fee amount and the accepted payment methods with your council. Paying the application fee is necessary for the process, ensuring that the council can review and consider your application promptly.

Some Key Considerations Regarding Dropped Kerb Application

  • If you live in a local authority-maintained home, the rules and process for dropped kerbs differ.
  • You do not apply for a Disabled Access Grant, as the council is responsible for meeting your needs.
  • Apply directly to your local council, usually through their website.
  • Assessment by the occupational health team determines the necessity of dropped kerbs.
  • You can request an additional visit or make a formal complaint if needed.
  • Spouses, partners, or children can apply on behalf of a disabled person.
  • Planning permission and private contractors are typically handled by the council.
  • If necessary, modifications cannot be made, relocation to a more suitable home may be an option.
dropped kerbs

Installation of Dropped Kerb

Dropped kerb installation refers to modifying a sidewalk or pavement to create a smooth transition from the pedestrian pathway to the roadway. It involves lowering or sloping a section of the curb to allow for easy access for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and individuals with mobility devices.

The installation typically includes excavation, adjusting the pavement levels, and ensuring proper drainage. The process may also involve obtaining planning permission, adhering to local regulations, and meeting accessibility standards. Dropped kerb installation aims to enhance accessibility, promote safety, and create inclusive urban environments that cater to the needs of all pedestrians.

Some Important Considerations

In the UK, installing a dropped kerb is subject to legal criteria and regulations to ensure compliance with safety and accessibility standards. Key legal considerations include obtaining planning permission from the local council, adhering to specific design guidelines, and following regulations set forth by the Highways Act 1980.

The dropped kerb must be designed to facilitate safe and convenient pedestrian crossings, comply with accessibility standards for wheelchair users and individuals with disabilities, and adhere to local traffic management regulations. It is essential to consult with the local council and seek professional advice to ensure that the dropped kerb installation meets all legal requirements in the UK.

Installing Dropped Kerb Without Permission

Installing dropped kerbs without obtaining the necessary permission from the local council is considered a violation of regulations and can have legal consequences. Installing dropped kerbs without permission in the UK is generally considered an offence under the Highways Act 1980.

You must obtain proper permission from your local council before installing a dropped kerb. Unauthorised alterations can lead to consequences, including:

Reinstatement and Cost

If you drop a kerb without permission, the council can require the kerb to be restored to its original state, and you will be charged for the reinstatement work.

Liability for Damage

Unauthorised kerb modifications can make you liable for any damages caused to the kerb, underlying utilities, and street items.

Illegal Driving and Pedestrian Safety

Driving on the pavement, even for accessing your property, is a criminal offence. Even if you have a dropped kerb, it remains illegal. In case of accidents involving pedestrians, legal consequences can arise.

Can Application for Dropped Kerb be Refused?

Yes, a dropped kerb application can be refused by the local council. There are various reasons why an application may be denied, including but not limited to:

Safety Concerns: If the proposed dropped kerb location poses safety risks or could impact traffic flow, the council may refuse the application to prioritise road safety.

Non-Compliance with Regulations: If the application does not meet the required design standards, accessibility guidelines, or local regulations, it may be refused.

Impact on Public Space: The council may refuse an application if it would significantly affect public space, such as the removal of trees or disruption to green areas.

Parking and Access Issues: If the proposed dropped kerb conflicts with neighbouring properties or adversely affects on-street parking availability, the application may be refused.

Inadequate Documentation or Information: If the application is incomplete or lacks necessary supporting documents, the council may refuse it until it is provided.

Opposition from Local Residents: If neighbouring residents or other stakeholders raise valid concerns or objections during the application process, the council may consider those objections and refuse the application.

The Council Ownership

The council retains ownership of the footpath, regardless of any work done on the kerb. Permission and licenses are granted for usage, but the area remains public property and is unlikely to change.

Extending an Existing Kerb

To widen an existing or proposed dropped kerb, you must get approval from the local planning and road authorities. They may refuse the request if they consider the widening unnecessary or potentially hazardous.

Installing Driveway Without Kerb

Installing a new driveway typically requires dropping a kerb outside your home. However, separate planning permission may be necessary for the driveway in some cases.

You may not need planning permission to create a driveway using porous materials like gravel, permeable block paving, resin, porous asphalt, reinforced grass, or concrete. Nonetheless, obtaining approval for the dropped kerb is crucial before hiring driveway contractors to proceed with the installation.

When calculating the cost of a dropped kerb, always factor in the expenses associated with the driveway installation. Proper planning and consideration of the dropped kerb and driveway will ensure a seamless and compliant home improvement project.

Dropped Kerb for Wheelchair Users

For wheelchair users seeking a dropped kerb to improve accessibility, there are cost considerations and potential opportunities:

Cost Considerations: Installing a dropped kerb for wheelchair access can be expensive. However, there are situations where the local council may provide this service for free to facilitate home access for disabled individuals using wheelchairs or motorised mobility scooters.

Application Process Variation: The process for applying for a dropped kerb for wheelchair access differs based on your housing situation. If you rent your home privately or own it, the application process will differ from those living in local authority-maintained homes.

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