ILLEGAL driveways could be built across Southend because of council delays, residents fear.

People who want to transform their front gardens into parking spaces have become frustrated at Southend Council’s temporary ban on new dropped kerbs in the town.

They believe the delays could prompt people to take matters into their own hands and build driveways without permission, damaging pavements and grass verges in the process.

Dave Lee, 65, of Wyatts Drive, Thorpe Bay, has spent months trying to secure permission to convert his front lawn into a driveway.

He said: “It seems to have taken so long and there’s still no guarantee when I will be able to proceed.

“I have a company ready to do the work, but I just can’t get the permission I need.”

Dropped kerbs are a legal requirement if residents want to be able to drive over a pavement or grass verge to reach their home.

They can cost hundreds of pounds to install, but the council will only give consent for them if it is proved there will be no damage to the road or problems with parking.

The authority suspended applications for dropped kerbs last year to draw up a fresh set of criteria, partly following complaints about the number of on-street parking spaces being lost.

Zulfiqar Ali, the council’s strategic highways and traffic manager, said that policy was expected to be finalised by next month.

He added: “The review process has been on-going and has taken longer than anticipated, which we apologise for.

“However it is being finalised now and it is expected to go to the traffic and parking working party meeting on March 13 for consideration and approval.

“It is anticipated that the new policy, when agreed, will be ready for implementation early in the new financial year.”