Re-green Front Gardens

It should be a requirement for each front garden
to be at least a third grass/garden.
(This could be achieved by: either making it a
requirement by, say, 2020; or placing an immediate
ban on new conversions of front gardens to hard-standing
and insisting on the `one-third rule' being imposed
when a property is sold.)
If we win the money, it could be used for grants
of half the cost to residents for changing hard-standing
back to garden or lawn.
Some reasons for imposing this are:
(1) Front gardens absorb rainwater, which just runs off
hard-standing, exacerbating flash-flooding which the drains are not
designed to deal with.  David Attenborough's BBC1 programme
`Climate Change:  Britain Under Threat' made the point that
`something as simple as a new paved driveway will cause serious
problems for future generations ... the sewers can no longer cope
with the excess'.

(2) It takes parking spaces out of the `common stock', even when the
owner is away.

(3) It reduces the total `green area'; green areas act as sinks for
carbon dioxide, reducing the global warming effect.

(4) It reduces the total `green area'; green areas absorb
pollutants, improving the general air quality. Michael Mosley's recent programme showed that you could halve your exposure to life-threatening particulates by planting a tree in your front garden.

(5) Front gardens provide habitats for many creatures.  An RSPB
report recently identified the loss of habitat due to tarmac
replacing front gardens as having a highly significant detrimental
effect on British songbird populations.

(6) It looks dreadful in most cases. See the Council's own
planning Web site which includes a photo captioned `The
introduction of car parking has destroyed the character
in many cases.'

(7) The undulating pavement levels are a hazard to
blind/elderly/disabled people and others (there are a couple of
drives in Redlandl that are so steep that they may actually be
too dangerous for wheelchair users to cross).

(8) Cars driving across pavements out of driveways (sometimes
backing at speed!) are a direct danger to pedestrians.

(9) There is anecdotal evidence of a correlation between gardens
disappearing under tarmac and petty vandalism (graffiti, littering
etc), possibly due to a perceived loss of pride in an area or
general lack of concern.

(10) Front gardens carelessly converted to tarmac can manifest a
mindset of casual car use for short journeys (bad from many angles,
including environment/global warming and obesity/public health
areas) and lack of concern for the local area.

Why the contribution is important

The air quality in Bristol is in urgent need of improvement.

by user515911 on November 25, 2013 at 07:21PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.1
Based on: 17 votes


  • Posted by user734334 November 27, 2013 at 11:32

    I agree with the majority of your points but I don't get no.2. Would your plan not put more cars out on the road and in this way reduce traffic flow? Perhaps instead we need to create underground neighbourhood parking stores. Of course this is exceptionally costly and that is pretty much the end of that but this foes work in some cities/areas in both France and Spain where the cart majority of car parks are all below ground.
  • Posted by user515911 November 27, 2013 at 16:16

    Thanks yhin. I pressed `enter' too quickly with this idea, so it is rather poorly written! I'm talking, I suppose, about the majority of roads in my neighbourhood, where there is parking at the kerb without affecting the traffic flow. Almost every drive changed to a garden would provide a parking space at the kerb available to anyone around the clock, rather than there being a `double yellows' kerb protecting a drive used by the owner maybe just 6pm to 7.30am most days. Hope that explains the meaning better.
  • Posted by user563645 November 29, 2013 at 13:05

    It does depend on where you live though. In some areas there is no such thing as 'common stock' parking spaces, as our mayor is bringing in RPZ's, so you would be denying the householder of their right to have free parking on their own property, and force them to have to pay for a permit.

    Not all driveways are made of tarmac either, ours is brick blocks and we have not sealed them, so the rainwater just sinks into the sand below and then through the gravel under that. The council could maybe encourage more people to use this method instead if it worried about rainwater run-off, but tarmac is cheaper so I think most people would go for that option based on price.

    It is a nice idea in theory but it is not achievable in reality if people are going to be charged to park on the streets.
  • Posted by user515911 November 30, 2013 at 09:34

    Thanks for this AnnieM. I hear that under Council regs, drives are meant to be permeable, but many people ignore this. There is still in a sense `common stock' in an RPZ, but it is restricted to just your neighbours in the RPZ roughly 9am--5pm weekdays (plus `pay and display' and short stay); it's there evenings and weekends. People could still have drives up to two-thirds the size of their garden. An option would be to limit this to the so-called `Conservation Areas'---while there is still something to conserve!
  • Posted by user515911 December 09, 2013 at 20:31

    There has just been a TV programme on BBC2 called `The Great British Garden Revival' which proposed a campaign to preserve/restore front gardens, and gave ideas for retaining grass under a car-parking area using a plastic grid. Should be on `Catch-up' for a while, I would think, if you're interested.
  • Posted by user418076 December 10, 2013 at 11:03

    I have been advocating this sort of change for a long time - I get very cross whenever I see people paving over their gardens for their big 4x4's without a thought for the environment and possibly flood risk etc. Good for you
  • Posted by user180659 December 10, 2013 at 18:46

    Em - I think your point 2 should read something like. "By removing drives we create communal parking on the street. Normally one or two off street spaces take out one or two on street so less parking for people that want to use the shops, drop off kids at school.... But more importantly, on street parking is more efficient as when the householder leaves a space someone else can park there".
  • Posted by user251846 January 15, 2014 at 14:07

    In our road residents turn their front gardens into parking spaces and pay for the Council to install haulingways in order to reserve the street outside their homes for they alone to park in. Anyone else parking there can be towed away. This is an abuse of the system. Also swathes of concrete and paving are detrimental to the street scene. I have complained about this, particularly as all the houses in our street have rear garages! Apparently anyone who wants to do this can requeast it without let or hindrence.
  • Posted by user515911 January 18, 2014 at 11:09

    Looking at the flooding on Whiteladies Rd this week, perhaps this idea could usefully be extended to some commercial premises. The worst flooding was outside a premises that had changed its whole front area to hard-standing. Well done BBC for keeping lawns and trees!
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