Gates : General Guidance
A gate should only be installed in a boundary (e.g. a fence, wall or hedge) when an open gap is considered inappropriate or is unacceptable to one or more of the parties concerned. If the decision is made that a gate is the most suitable option, it should be designed to optimise ease of access and cause least restriction and inconvenience to path users. At the same time, care should be taken to ensure that it still performs its other functions, such as stock control or deterring non-legitimate access. There are three main types of gate that can be used to accommodate public access:
- pedestrian gates providing access along paths for pedestrians, people using manual or motorised wheelchairs and people with single or double pushchairs/prams;
- bridle gates providing access along paths for all of the above types of user plus horseriders and cyclists;
- kissing wicket gates providing access along paths for pedestrians and, subject to the gate's dimensions and design, manual and motorised wheelchair users, cyclists and people with single or double pushchairs/prams.
Gates which form part of a field boundary may need to be stockproof. Where appropriate and lawful, gates can also assist in preventing the passage of non-legitimate users. Careful consideration should, however, always be given to the needs of people with disabilities and possible obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 (see Appendix 2).
By virtue of their design and mode of operation, kissing gates can be more restrictive to users than simple pedestrian or bridle gates. They should therefore only be installed if there is a specific and pressing reason to do so and a more accessible design is not considered acceptable. The ready availability of self closing hinges and secure automatic latches for both one-way and twoway gates means that kissing gates should rarely be necessary if stock control is a gate's only function. However, where the control of access by certain types of user (e.g. horseriders and motorcyclists) is a key requirement, the installation of an appropriate style of kissing gate may be the most effective solution.
In all cases, gates should swing freely and easily and should be properly installed and maintained so that they operate in the intended manner. The use of self closing hinges will improve ease of use and, provided they are properly maintained, will ensure that gates are stockproof.
The area through, and to either side of a gate should be appropriately surfaced (if necessary with aggregate fill) and properly maintained to ensure that it does not become worn or eroded, causing puddling in wet weather. Adequate space should be provided to either side of the gate to allow users to manoeuvre through it conveniently and safely. This is especially important adjacent to roads and where horseriders, cyclists or wheelchair users may need to turn around to close a gate. Horseriders will also require adequate headroom. Detailed guidance on the 'manoeuvring space' required for different types of gate is included in Appendix 1 'BS5709:2001 Specification for Gaps, Gates and Stiles'.