We are looking for planning permission to create a parking space in our front garden. We live on a road with paid parking, which currently has residents' permit parking. How much should it cost to get planning permission, for the local council to remove a parking space and dish the footpath, and how much to create the space? Who is the best person to do the last, and what is the best but least expensive base for the parking space?
A lack of reliable and often overcrowded public transport means that many families will require a second car. Indeed, it is now common for college goers to commute in their own car because of the limited availability and excessive cost of accommodation. Most people prefer to have their car parked off the street for convenience as well as security.
There are many aspects to look at, such as the alteration of the footpath and dishing the kerb as you mention. The collection and disposal of surface water and the prevention of water running on to the street from the new hard surfaces need consideration. Will street lamp posts, road signage, trees on the path, a grass verge or the like be affected?
Alteration of the entrance and the provision of car parking within the confines of a front garden requires planning permission, as you correctly point out. All of the above aspects need to be addressed in the application showing how they are to be dealt with. Your planning application must clearly show all of the works to be carried out, together with site levels before and after the works. This will mean that a detailed set of drawings and schedule of works will be required.
It will also be necessary to provide a notice in a newspaper circulating in the locality and to provide a public notice on site. Six copies of the drawings will need to be lodged with the application, together with an application fee payable to the council of €34. If the planning application is successful, a separate application must be made to the roads section of the council. Professional fees associated with the preparation of planning applications can vary, and you should price around in your locality with regard to this. Because of the extent of information now required in even the simplest planning application I would allow for a minimum professional fee of €1,500 plus VAT for your designer.
You mention that there is paid parking in front of your house. The local authority may be concerned about a loss of revenue from on-street parking when assessing the application. When granting permission, the local authority will usually make it a condition of the grant that their personnel will carry out works to the footpath and kerb. This ensures that the works are carried out in strict accordance with their specific requirements. Costs can vary depending on the length of street frontage and any requirement to move signage, lights, trees, grass verges and the like. Dublin City Council publishes a standard charge on their web site of €556 as a base price for this work before any additional costs associated with moving lamp posts and so on.
The cost of carrying out the works in your front garden to provide the new car space depends on the area involved. Based on a typical area of a single car space of 15sq m, you should allow a minimum cost to provide the space of €3,000 plus VAT. This cost will obviously vary depending on the scope of works to include the length and type of wall and amount of garden material to be removed at the front of the property. The extent of drainage needed, and the quality of finishing materials and screening used will all impact on costs.
Most people use cobble lock or a finish to match those already provided at the front of their house. Stone chippings can add a good finish without introducing a hard surface, and this helps drainage. You could also look at grasscrete, which allows grass to grow through.
In terms of the cheapest option, concrete is probably the winner, but it can be visually unattractive. That said, I have seen concrete used and a dye added to good effect.
You should price around, but cheapest is rarely best. Take advice from your local chartered building surveyor. They can design the works, prepare the planning application on your behalf and recommend a suitable builder experienced in this type of work.
Noel Larkin is a chartered building surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie