A footway is defined as the Council-owned land between the private property boundary and the road. This area may include grass, street trees, footpaths, signs, driveways and street furniture.

Footways contribute significantly to the streetscape. They add biodiversity value, act to soften built structures in urbanised areas, and provide shade and green spaces. Council aims to maintain a consistent appearance of nature strips.

Footways provide an important space for the utility such as water, sewerage, communications, gas and electricity.  Where possible, the shape of the footway is configured to limit stormwater surface flows reaching adjacent properties.

All maintenance of trees, concrete, paved or asphalt footways will be provided by Council. Driveways are maintained by the property owner.

Residents and property owners, as part of their civic duty, should maintain unformed footways (surfaces other than concrete and asphalt). This includes regular mowing, watering, weeding, filling uneven tripping concerns and removing litter.

Local governments, including Sutherland Shire Council, do not include the costs in rates to undertake maintenance of unformed footways fronting all private properties.

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

Property owners may clear and plant turf, providing this is to a minimal depth and trees and tree roots are not damaged. Excavation is otherwise only permitted by a Road Opening Permit from Council.  This ensures the critical services under the footway are protected.

Only with Council approval via a Road Opening Permit.  We aim to maintain footway levels to provide a relatively flat passage for pedestrians.

Parking on footways is not permitted, except where a street has a rolled kerb. In these instances, vehicles are encouraged to park two wheels on the footway and two wheels on the roadway, as long as a clear pedestrian thoroughfare remains.

No. Community members are not permitted to place formed materials such concrete, paving or asphalt on footways.

Council only places formed surfaces after thoughtful design, and with the intention of maintaining them. Any construction we undertake is designed to last long term and minimise maintenance costs and risk to the community.

No. Synthetic turf on footways causes problems and has maintenance issues, including obstructing access to services, increasing radiant heat, creating tripping hazards, shedding micro-plastics into our stormwater system and reducing soil health.

No.  The footway may need to be excavated up to the property boundary from time to time for utility service work.  Structures on private land must be built to ensure they will not be unstable when this excavation occurs.

Drain pipes and kerb discharge outlets are privately-owned and maintained. A Road Opening Permit is required to undertake any works to the drain pipe or kerb outlet.

Council will undertake any works on concrete, paved or asphalt footways.

Report any footway concerns

Minor undulations in unformed footways caused by roots should be filled in by the property owner. Tree roots must not be damaged.

Residents may plant turf in the footway without approval.

Council also allows the planting of low-growing (less than 0.5m), soft foliage plants, with written approval. Council will want assurance that:

  • a 1.5m clearance is maintained for pedestrians
  • that adequate space for bin collections is provided
  • that there will be no obstructions to sight lines of vehicles exiting driveways
  • that 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 inappropriate plant or work.

Medium to large shrubs and trees may not be planted, unless permitted by Council.

Refer to Can I put plants on the footway? above.

Find out more about street tree planting

Yes. Council has a rolling program of new footways.

We prioritise high pedestrian routes, town centres, schools, shopping and commercial precincts. Submit a request for pedestrian access for consideration.

Request pedestrian access for your street

For more information, please refer to our Footpath Provision and Management Policy - PDF - 146 KB.

Utility authorities (such as water, sewerage, electricity, gas and communications) may conduct works on their assets on the footway. They usually reinstate the footway after the work is completed. Please contact the utility organisation directly if you have a concern. Their websites provide methods to report issues relating to their assets.

Council manages the stormwater pits and pipes, and for issues relating to these lodge a request on our website or call our Customer Service Centre.

Footway safety issues include:

  • illegal dumps and vandalism,
  • modifications to footways by others
  • materials on footways that may pose dangers to pedestrians or motorists, such as potential projectiles, trip hazards and discharges causing pollution.

Council will protect your identity if requested.

Contact us online to raise a request or issue. Lodging your request online is the quickest way for us to get all the details we need to resolve your issue.