Dropped kerb/vehicle access FAQs

Read the frequently asked questions and criteria before you apply for a new or an extension to an existing dropped kerb/vehicle access.

In the past we've received some applications that don't meet the criteria and get refused. We recommend you read the dropped kerb/vehicle access criteria (Word, 901KB) and questions below before you apply. 

The application fee is £300 and is non-refundable.

We check things such as:

  • visibility for vehicles and pedestrians
  • where water will flow so it doesn’t flow onto the highway
  • ensuring vehicles don’t overhang the pavement and obstruct the path

Pavements and verges are also not designed to take the weight of vehicles.

If a dropped kerb is not built correctly, vehicles can cause damage to the verge or pavement surface and may damage any pipes or cables buried beneath.

A shared access is where two (or more) homes can use the same section of lowered kerb as it goes across all or part of the footway in front of the houses. Some existing shared accesses are wider than we can now approve.

Example: A shared access

  • label A: shared access can be a maximum of 5.5m (approximately 6 dropped kerbs)

Whats a shared access

A single access is a lowered section of kerb outside one house where only the vehicles entering and exiting that house can use it. Some existing single accesses are wider than we can now approve.

Example: single accesses

  • label A: single accesses can be a maximum of 3.66m (approximately 4m dropped kerbs)
    label B: there must be at least 5m (approximately 6m dropped kerbs) between the proposed access and the next, in both directions

Whats a single access


If your application meets all the other criteria we can approve.

  • a shared access can be extended up to a maximum width of 5.5m (approximately 6 dropped kerbs)
  • a single access can be extended up to a maximum of 3.66m (approximately 4 dropped kerbs)

Example: extending existing access

  • label A: existing access 3.66m (approximately 4 dropped kerbs)
  • label B: proposed new extension

You'll be refused if you apply for this type of extension to your single access. You already have the maximum width for a single access allowed.

can I extend my existing

We require at least 5m (approximately 6 full height kerbs) between accesses to maintain on street parking.

Explanation of the criteria

  • label A: proposed new extension to existing access
  • label B: there must be at least 5m (approximately 6 full height kerbs) between proposed access and the next (in either direction)

This example would be approved as the existing access isn't at the maximum width and there's 5m between it and the neighbour's access.

why does the criteria say..5m between

You'll still need to apply for a dropped kerb even after your local District/Borough council has granted you planning permission.

You legally need permission from us to work on the highway.

Sorry, no we cannot take this into account. 

We assess the property and highway safety and not the requirements of the occupier. This is because the property occupier may change in time, whereas the property itself will not.

You may, however, qualify for a parking bay for a disabled person.

If we allow long lengths of dropped kerb and don't maintain on street parking there will be less areas for visitors (e.g. carers or doctors) to park.

After a dropped kerb has been installed it's unlikely to be reinstated back to it's original height.


You'll need to apply if - you're proposing a new access or increasing the size of an existing one in a place with no pavement where you've to cross a grass verge/bank, maintained by Suffolk Highways.

Email highwaysrecords@suffolk.gov.uk if you would like to obtain highway limit information. 

Only if your application meets the current dropped kerb/vehicle access criteria (Word, 901KB).

Your neighbour’s dropped kerb may have been approved under different criteria that's no longer applicable.

We recommend you read the frequently asked questions on this page to help understand if your application will be successful.

Good visibility is essential to enable drivers coming out of an access to see and be seen by drivers and pedestrians using the road or pavement.

A visibility splay is the area to the left and right that you can see when you are pulling out of your access.

We have requirements for both pedestrian visibility and vehicular visibility.

Vehicular Visibility Splay

Vehicular visibility splays can be worked out by measuring 2.4 metres from the road edge back to the centre of the entrance or driveway (this is roughly where you would be sitting in the driver’s seat of a car)

You then measure in metres to the left and right how far the furthest point is that you can see the centre line of the road. That is your maximum visibility splay to the left and right.

The distance we require you to have increases on faster roads or those with a higher classification. Sometimes the curve of the road means you have a short visibility splay in one or both directions.

Pedestrian Visibility Splay

Pedestrian visibility splays can be worked out by measuring 2.0 metres from the road edge back to the centre of the entrance or driveway (this is roughly where you would be sitting in the driver’s seat of a car) you then measure 1.5m either side and then measure 2m at a right angle towards the road.

From that point back to the drivers eye view needs to be clear of obstructions such as hedges, trees, fences and walls.

We can only approve an access where you can show you have the required visibility or can clear (or reduce the height to below 60cm) of any obstruction.

We recommend you read the frequently asked questions on this page and the dropped kerb/vehicle access criteria (Word, 901KB) to help understand if your application will be successful. 

We recommend you read the frequently asked questions on this page and the dropped kerb/vehicle access criteria (Word, 901KB) before you apply. The application fee of £300 is non-refundable if your application is not successful.

Apply and pay for a new dropped kerb/vehicle access here.


What does the fee cover?

The £300 non-refundable fee is for our engineer/technician to complete a site visit. They'll assess whether your application meets the dropped kerb/vehicle access criteria (Word, 901KB) and is safe for you, pedestrians and any other road users.

If your application is approved, we:

  • provide you with construction specifications to share with your contractor
  • carry out a site visit during/after construction to ensure your access is complaint with the approval criteria

We assess each application individually and will only approve applications based on the current criteria. 

Please don't assume that permission will be granted based on other dropped kerbs that exist in your road. Other dropped kerbs may have been approved under previous criteria that no longer applies. We allow two years to undertake the work so a new access may have been approved years ago even though it may have only recently been constructed.

Example: why was my application was rejected?

If the occupier at number 35 in the diagram (labelled A) for this dropped kerb/vehicle access, it would be refused for two reasons:

  1. label B: there isn’t 5m (approximately 6 dropped kerbs) between the edge of the proposed access and the next existing access (at number 33) and
  2. label C: the new width of dropped kerbs (from number 29 to number 35) would be wider than 5.5m. This is the maximum we can approve for a shared access

Why was my applicatoin rejected


After we've received your application, payment and supporting documents, we'll aim to process this information within 20 working days.

If you don’t hear from us during this time, it's because we’re still processing your application.

You can only contact Customer Services about:

  • an existing application form
  • making an payment for your existing application

It's quicker and easier to talk to Customer Services via web chat. 

Or email customer.service@suffolk.gov.uk or call 0345 606 6171.


We'll only approve applications if the depth of the driveway is at least 5m (6.2m if proposed access is in front of a door or garage).

Although you may own a small car now, we need to think about the future. For example, you may purchase a larger car or sell the property to another person who owns a larger car.

It's illegal for a car to overhang the road/pavement and cause an obstruction.

I want to parallel park on my front garden as I don’t have 5m depth. Is this possible?

We don’t allow parallel parking as you would be potentially manoeuvring for longer across a pavement.

Your car doors may swing into the highway and there is a possibility that future occupants may not parallel park and try and park two or more vehicles facing the house and obstruct the highway, which is an offence.

The minimum depth we require you to have is 5m, or 6.2m if the parking area is in front of a door.

Request a peer review

You can write or email us explaining what you think we have measured incorrectly or what part of the dropped kerb/vehicle access criteria (Word, 901KB) we have not applied correctly.

The Dropped Kerbs Team will reassess the site.

We'll contact you again within 20 working days.

After the peer review

The original decision will be final if your application still doesn't meet the criteria.

The Dropped Kerbs Team won’t be able to enter into any further correspondence.

You can also contact our Customer Rights Team if you're dissatisfied with the decision following the refusal or peer review. The Customer Rights Team can check whether anything else can be done to resolve your issue.

We don’t have a list of accredited contractors.

You could look in local directories or ask people nearby who have had a dropped kerb installed if they would recommend their contractor.

We recommend you get at least three written quotes and definitely speak to previous customers to check how they felt things went and look at the work the contractor undertook before you get quotes.

The work can cost from about £1000 - £5000 depending on the site so that is a lot of money to spend. Please do your research thoroughly.

You must check that who you do select is accredited in accordance with the requirements of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 to undertake work within a public highway and hold at least £5million public liability insurance.

Dropped kerbs constructed over 2 years ago

Suffolk Highways are responsible for the repair/maintenance of a dropped kerb that was constructed over 2 years ago.

It's quicker and easier to report any damage or a problem using the online Highways Reporting tool.

Proceed to the online Highways Reporting Tool


Dropped kerbs constructed less than 2 years ago

All repair/maintenance works required are the responsibility of the contractor who carried out the work. Find advice about on what to do at:

The construction work must be completed within 2 years of the date of the approval letter.  Once 2 years have expired, a new application must be made.