OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

The recent discussion about wheelie bins reminded me that if N8 hadn't lost so many front gardens to hard-standings and crossovers, many of which are the real eyesores, residents would not be so keen to hold onto unnecessary rubbish bins, and would do their best to hide them wherever possible. 

A few years ago, I did have a go at the council for its gross inaction regarding residents paving over their front gardens and creating (sometime their own, illegal) crossovers, with many clearly contravening the council's planning rules: Fairfield Road has a number of these.  These planning rules had been drawn up in the UDP specifically to safeguard and control undesired changes both in and out of the Conservation Areas.

Anyhow, I got nowhere, and could entirely blame the then planning department for its lack of resolve - to the extent it was granting applications which clearly didn't meet its minimum criteria, but there was another reason, which is an example of unjoined-up thinking:

  • Crossovers are a matter for Highways, and no 'planning' control is required - just pay the fee and get it done
  • Demolishing front walls and gardens are a matter for Planning, and their controls are slack

So, there is a bin-proliferation problem, but their unsightliness is largely highlighted because there are fewer front gardens, front walls, gates, and flora.

Now we have CPZs the protection of these crossovers simply reduces overall parking spaces.  For this reason, I advocate the council reviews all crossovers, revoking and removing everyone that doesn't meet it's minimum criteria, and extending the CPZ bays wherever possible.  I'd also be quite happy for the council to repay any application costs incurred by the residents, but nothing more.

This is radical, perhaps, but I think many streets would look a lot prettier if the majority of the off-street parking were banished.

Tags: Crossovers, Front, Gardens

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When I had my white line painted Highways did check that the crossover had been authorised by planning.

The view from my front has two double fronted houses with their front yards entirely given over to parking, one big single fronted, and my own with the grey car parked. Plus loads of bins

My own pet hate are satellite dishes - these are often difficult to get removed - precious parking spaces i'm sure would be more difficult, and the ability to enforce times out after a few years.

I realise it's a forlorn hope, and it's not just for the issue of parking: I genuinely think it diminishes the quality of our streets.

Did you ever read the UDP on this? I can't remember the exact details, but vehicles had to be able to part perpendicular to the property, there had to be a double gate, and it had to be able to open inwardly with the vehicle in situ, and there had to be some wall plus some garden - in fact, only if the area could support both garden and hardstanding (with the aforementioned provisos) could approval be potentially granted.

The matter of people knocking down front walls as a prelude to getting a crossover is an interesting one, since approval is only needed, if the wall is taller than x.  So we have an example (one very near you) where ranks of bricks were first removed to bring the wall below x, and then it was knocked down without needing permission.  Then when Highways check with planning, a site visit indicates there isn't a wall anyhow, so 'no objection'. 

Conditions of construction

Please note that there are certain conditions which must be met before construction can commence:

  • There must be a suitable opening in your boundary wall or fence to allow access to the parking space or garage.
  • Where gates are installed they must not open outwards onto the public highway.
  • All hard standing or parking spaces within the private property must be constructed prior to construction of the vehicle crossover. This is to ensure that the new crossover is not damaged during the construction of the hard standing.
  • Applicants are also strongly advised to consult with the Planning and Development section for further guidance and advice to ensure proposed works do not detract from the character of the surroundings.
  • The minimum depth from the back of the footway to your building line must be 4.80 metres.
  • Planning permission is not automatic and you should be aware that permission may be refused. However do not let this delay you in returning the map.
  • When planning permission has been obtained please advise us of the reference number and date.
  • If you are a tenant in a Council property you must obtain permission from your Area Housing Office.

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Advice and recommendations on sustainable construction and drainage of hard standings

Where the hard standing involves removal of soft gardens within the property the applicant must arrange to keep the hard surface to a minimum where feasible and practical. This can be achieved by creating two paved tracks wide enough to accommodate the car wheels.

Recent experiences of global climate change, including increased rainfall intensities resulting in rapid-run offs have put a tremendous strain on conventional storm water drainage and in some circumstances has exacerbated localised flooding. In order to mitigate the effects on the surrounding environment, hard-standings within private properties can be constructed with a variety of materials and methods. Some examples of these are detailed below:

Concrete block paving such as PRIORA, AQUADA etc. (manufactured by Marshalls or similar approved) offer permeable joints or porous surfacing that are suitable for diverting surface run-off on to conventional drainage systems within the private property. Laying the blocks in herringbone pattern can also be beneficial.

Various designs of linear drainage channels with the outlets connected to one or more ‘sub-surface soak-aways’ within the property can effectively ensure that surface water run off is not discharged on to the public highway. The actual dimensions of the soak-away and sizes of backfill materials will depend on the area of the hardstanding and permeability of materials adjacent to the soakaway.

The information provided above is based on typical projects. It is therefore recommended that each location is designed to suit specific site conditions and restrictions.

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