Footways - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is some frequently asked questions made by the community regarding footways. Click on a question to find out more or scroll down to view further information.

The footway is the Council owned land between the private property boundary and the road. This area may be includes grass, street trees, footpaths, signs, driveways and street furniture.

Footways contribute significantly to the streetscape of Sutherland Shire. They can provide biodiversity value, act to soften built structures in urbanised areas and assist with providing shade and green spaces. Council aims to maintain an overall consistency and appearance of nature strips.

The footway provides an important space for the many utility services required to service properties such as water, sewer, communications, gas and electricity.  Where possible, the shape of the footway is also generally configured to limit properties from having stormwater surface flows reaching the property.

Residents and Property owners, as part of their civic duty, maintain unformed footways (surfaces other than concrete, asphalt).  This includes regular mowing, watering, weeding, filling any uneven tripping concerns and litter removal.  With everyone playing their part, the footway lifts the character and aesthetic appeal of the street.

Local government, including Sutherland Shire Council, does not include the costs in rates to undertake maintenance of unformed footways fronting all private properties.  Any maintenance of trees, concrete, paved or asphalt footways will be provided by Council.  Driveways are maintained by the property owner.           

In key strategic and regionally significant locations Council does provide a maintenance service under an assistance program.

The property owner may clear and plant turf providing this is to a minimal depth while ensuring no damage to trees and tree roots.  Excavation is otherwise only permitted with Council approval via a Road Opening Permit.  This is required to manage and coordinate works and to ensure the many critical services under the footway are protected for the community’s ongoing use and safety.

Only with Council approval via a Road Opening Permit.  We do look to retain footway levels to provide a uniform, relatively flat passage for pedestrians.  

Parking on the footway is not permitted.  The only exception is where a street has roll-type kerb, and in such instances cars may straddle onto the footway by a maximum of 1m from the back of the kerb, providing there remains a clear 1.2m wide pedestrian thoroughfare.

Community members are not permitted to place formed materials such concrete, paving or asphalt in the footway.  Council does only place formed surfaces after considered design and with the intention to continue to maintain the surface.  Our construction standards are also set to last long lifespans and to minimise maintenance costs and risk to the community. 

The use of synthetic turf for footways is not supported due to known problems and maintenance issues.  These include obstructing access to services, increasing radiant heat, trip hazards, shedding micro-plastics into our stormwater and reducing soil health.

No.  The footway may need to be excavated up to the property boundary at any time for utility service work.  Structures on private land are to be built to ensure they will not be unstable where excavation of the footway occurs.

The drain pipe and kerb discharge outlet are privately owned and maintained.  To undertake any works to the drain pipe or kerb outlet, please apply for a Road Opening Permit.

Any minor undulations in unformed footways resulting from roots should be filled in by the property owner.  The property owner is not permitted to do any activities that may damage tree roots.  Council will undertake any works to concrete, paved or asphalt footways and we encourage the community to report any such concerns using the Snap Send Solve app, lodging a request on our website or by calling Council’s Customer Service Centre.    

Residents may plant turf in the footway without approval.  Council supports low growing (less than 0.5m), soft foliage plants being in the footway providing approval to do so is given in writing prior to any works being carried out.  When seeking approval, please consider Council will be wanting assurance that a 1.5m clear path for pedestrians is maintained, adequate space for bin collections is provided, there is no obstructions to sight lines of vehicles exiting driveways and utility pit lids are visible and accessible.  Residents must also consider that where utility works occur, the footway will be reinstated with turf.  Hard objects such as garden edges, stakes, logs, sleepers, river pebbles, timbers, stones, pots, statues and rocks are not permitted in the footway.  Council also reserves the right to remove or ask the property owner to remove any unsuitable, inappropriate plant or work.

Medium to large shrubs and trees are not to be planted, unless specifically permitted by Council.  Refer to the earlier question  Can I put plants in the footway?.  You can request a street tree be planted in the footway using the Snap Send Solve app, lodging a request on our website or by calling Council’s Customer Service Centre.

Yes.  Council has a rolling program of new footways.  Council is looking to place footpaths as a priority where there are high pedestrian routes, town centres, schools, shopping and commercial precincts.  For more information, please refer to Councils Footpath Provision and Management Policy.

Utility authorities (such as water, sewer, electricity, gas and communications) have legislated rights to conduct works on the footway.  They often also elect to reinstate the footway themselves sometime after the works are completed.  We encourage the community to approach the utility organisation that relates to their concern.  Each Utility authority has methods to report issues relating to their assets on their website. 

Council does manage the stormwater pits and pipes, and where an issue relates to them please use the Snap Send Solve app, lodge a request on our website or call Council’s Customer Service Centre.     

Council is responsible to provide a safe footway considering public safety issues and risks.  We greatly appreciate the community reporting any issues regarding safety or risk to the public, and this can save the community from injury and costs.   Please report concerns using the Snap Send Solve app, lodging a request on our website or by calling Council’s Customer Service Centre.  This may relate to things including:

  • Illegal dumps and vandalism,
  • Modifications to footways by others.
  • Materials on footways that may pose danger to pedestrians or motorists.This may items such as potential projectiles, trip hazards and discharges causing pollution.

Council can protect the identity of anyone reporting such concerns if sought.


Address: ,

More information




Did this page help you?

We monitor feedback and will respond to your comments if you include your email address.

Please type the characters you see in the picture below

Please type the code in the box above

Have more to say? Complete our Community survey on the transformation of our website. We are focused on creating a website that provides an intuitive, easy-to-use, and efficient customer experience for our community and we need your feedback to ensure we have captured everything you’d like to see and do on our refreshed website. With the click of a button, you can help us build a better website for our community, provide your feedback now - 2021