When you are looking at new gates for your driveway, there are lots of choices to be made. You might be considering a traditional wood look or switch to metal garden gates. You may be tempted with automatically opening aluminium gates or something that you simply manually operate.
Whatever the style, material or function you choose, one big point to consider is whether gates open in or out. What you might not realise is that there’s actually legislation that has a big impact on this.
The Highways Act 1980
The main bit of legislation that impacts whether gates open in or out is called the Highways Act 1980.
This covers a whole range of topics but there’s a couple of points that refer to the topic of driveway gates. These points come under part 153 of the Act and refer to doors, gates and such that open outwards. It says:
- A gate can’t open out onto a highway (in other words, the public footpath or road) unless the local authority has given permission for this
- If you add a gate that opens out onto the highway with permission, the council can come along and make you change it
- If you don’t, it can go to court and you can even end up with a fine!
What this means in non-legal speak is that you can’t open a gate out onto the road or footpath. That’s because you might block someone walking or driving along it and that’s not allowed.
If your gate is going to be located right at the bottom of the driveway, then it needs to be open in to avoid running into problems with the local authority. Or you need to go down the route of asking for planning permission to see if you can do this.
When you can open gates outwards
While the rules are pretty clear on gates that cross the highway, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an outwards opening gate under any circumstances.
That’s because if you can locate the gate further up the drive, you can open it outwards. Let’s say you have a single car width driveway that is 10 feet wide. You are planning a pair of gates so each will be roughly five feet wide. This means they will need a little over five feet to swing open.
If you were to locate the gates six feet up your driveway, you could have them swing open and not touch the highway. That way you aren’t breaking the Highways Act.
Of course, this only works if you have enough room to move the gates up and still have space to park your car before you reach the house. Not everyone will have this and that means having the gates open inwards.
Inward opening gates
If the layout of your driveway means that outwards opening gates aren’t an option, then you are left with inward opening ones instead.
There are still a couple of things to think about when you are placing your gates to make sure they work smoothly. First, there’s the distance from the house then there’s the gap left to park your car, without the gates bashing them.
Another thing to consider is the land itself – is there a slope? If there is, you need to think about how this will impact the swing of the gate. It needs to be positioned in such a way that the bottom corner isn’t constantly bashing the ground and damaging it. That might mean lifting it off the ground enough so that it swings safely.
Getting the perfect gate layout
Deciding if your gates open in or out is one of the big decisions when designing a driveway. Not only are there regulations to consider but there's the function of the gates, the location of the house to the drive and how you can get around with the car.
Once you have sorted these issues, you are ready to order your perfect gates and get started with the installation.