Causing an obstruction

Class B of Part 2 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO permits the formation, laying out and construction of a means of access to a highway which is not a trunk road or a classified road, where that access is required in connection with development permitted by any Class of Schedule 2 (other than by Class A of Part 2). Article 3(6) of the GPDO states, however,  that the permission granted by Schedule 2 does not authorise any development which creates an obstruction to the view of persons using any highway used by vehicular traffic, so as to be likely to cause danger to such persons. But what might constitute an obstruction? In determining an appeal against refusal of a certificate of lawfulness for a vehicular access to a new driveway at a house in Buckinghamshire, an inspector found that the use itself of the access would cause an obstruction (DCS Number 400-024-695).

The inspector observed that the property fronted onto the inside of an appreciable bend in the carriageway, which was an unclassified residential road subject to a 30 mph speed limit. The highway authority reported that due to the curvature of the road and the proximity of third party land on either side of the narrow frontage, the achievable visibility splays from the proposed vehicular access would be 2.4 m by about 22 m to the north and 2.4 m by about 24 m to the south, and these were commensurate with vehicle speeds of about 19 mph.

It seemed to the inspector that Article 3(6) could apply to control physical features like fencing and walls at the front or sides of a property which could create an obstruction to visibility, or equally it could apply to control the creation of a substandard vehicular access which, in itself, could cause or result in similar levels of obstructed visibility. He judged that it would be difficult for drivers making an exit from the property to safely see vehicles approaching along the road and this would result in an obstruction to visibility for drivers leaving the site. In turn, as drivers of vehicles approaching along the road would not be adequately aware of vehicles emerging from the proposed vehicular access, they too would have an obstructed view of persons using the highway, so as to be likely to cause danger to those persons. Reversing manoeuvres into or out of the site at a point of poor visibility and between vehicles parked on the street might well further add to the identified dangers to road users.

The inspector found that the proposed vehicular access would create an obstruction to the view of persons using a highway used by vehicular traffic, so as to be likely to cause danger to such persons. In the light of Article 3(6) of the GPDO, it could not therefore be authorised by the permission granted by Class B of Part 2 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO. He concluded that the appeal should fail.

Further appeal examples relating to this subject can be found at Section 4.3422 of DCP Online.