Home owners’ love of easier parking paves way for the death of front gardens


Home owners’ love of easier parking paves way for the dea-th of front gardens

The dea-th of the front garden could be on the horizon, as new figures suggest home owners are increasingly opting to transform their green space into a driveway.

More than one in 10 people in the UK, 12 per cent, have converted either some or all of their front garden into a parking spot, a survey of 2,000 people by Direct Line Home Insurance found.

The majority of the driveway conversions took place in London, at 18 per cent, followed by the South East, at 14 per cent, and the West Midlands, at 14 per cent.

The main reason behind the increase is that home owners are fed up with crawling the streets outside their properties looking for a space, and are reluctant to leave their vehicles in unsafe areas far from their doorsteps, according to the insurer.

They are also keen to fit more than one car into the space outside their homes.

Rise in applications

In the past three years, there has been a rise in the number of applications to councils for dropped kerbs, according to Freedom of Information requests.

In 2018-19, councils received an estimated 14,500 planning requests, rising to 14,700 in 2020-21.

However, the proportion of approved applications has fallen from 80 per cent in 2018-19 to 74 per cent in 2020-21.

Some homeowners have taken matters into their own hands. During the past three years, there have been more than 7,500 investigations into driveways’ dropped kerbs which have potentially been installed illegally, Direct Line found.

Dan Simson, the head of Direct Line Home Insurance, said: “Parking spaces across many parts of the UK are in high demand. It is interesting to see how kerb appeal now means a dropped kerb, rather than an attractive front garden, with parking valued much more highly than grass and shrubbery.

“Creating a driveway often means a dropped kerb which involves applying for planning permission from a local council.

“We would encourage anyone thinking about doing this to do their research to ensure they have all the correct permissions in place. It is also important to keep your insurer in the loop to make sure your policy remains valid and you are adequately covered.”

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