I am in the process of buying a partly converted barn situated in the countryside. The barn has just been legally separated from the adjoining farmhouse which has just been sold.

The problem is that sole access for the properties now belongs to the farmhouse though the new owners are temporarily allowing access to the barn until a new driveway for the barn is established on the other side of the building. There is an old five bar gate which is the obvious solution which would allow access from the road across a grass verge directly onto the barn land. However there is no driveway here, merely grassed land which will form part of the garden of the barn.

Is planning permission needed to build a driveway for our vehicles?

  • Rachel Haynes


    You will need to get in touch with the local Planning Department as if you are creating a new vehicle access (a proper vehicle route rather than just a field entrance) from you site out on to the road the planners and highways departments will need to give you permission. The Highway Department will be interested in the width of the drive and the visibility of it for vehicles coming out and vehicles approaching. For example, it may be that if a vehicle is emerging between two hedges, the height of the hedges may need to be reduced so a driver can see up and down the road. There may also be constraints on the materials used as the drive meets the road and the drainage of the driveway.

    An application for the drive could either be submitted as just for the drive or as part of the larger application for the whole barn conversion depending on your access/ design timetable. For now it may be worth asking for a meeting with a Highways Officer from the local authority just to get their thoughts and guidance on the best new position for the drive.

    Hope that is of use.

  • John May

    Thank you Rachel, that is very helpful. Do you believe that the planning department/highways agency’s only issue would be the access? Ie, if access criteria were satisfied then it likely that approval would be given or are there other considerations?

    We’ve just had a look at your website by the way and your interpretation of the Milton Keynes barn looks like it might lend itself to our project. We might be in touch in due course!

  • Rachel Haynes

    Hi, for the drive itself the biggest concern is always safety for you and other motorists, therefore the access is paramount. Depending on the site and its location the materials you use (suitable and resilient), width of driveway (wide enough for two vehicles to pass for at least the first 5 meters), gradient (not too steep), drainage (not creating extra surface water on the road from run-off) etc. will also come into play. Find out who the grass verge belongs to as well – is it your land, the neighbours or the local authorities? If it isn’t yours you will need permission to build and access over it.

    Glad you liked the Milton Keynes barn. Please do get in touch for a chat. If by chance you are going to the Home Building and Renovating Show at the NEC tomorrow (Saturday) we will be at the ASBA stall (198) all day.

    Have a good weekend!

  • John May

    Thanks Rachel. That’s a real shame as we went to the show yesterday!

    Hopefully the purchase will proceed smoothly and then we’ll definitely be in touch!

  • Rachel Haynes

    Hi John, that is a shame, but hope you had a good day. Will look forward to hearing from you later.

    All the best.

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