They loved concrete in the 1960s. There was a lot of it around Ridgeway, including the drive: all of it rather sorry looking with cracks and weeds growing through.
Some of it we removed and crushed on site for hardcore, avoiding sending it to land fill. But we only needed so much hardcore and decided that removing the remainder could not be justified because of the energy required and cost.
The drive was even more cracked by the end of the project, from the weight of heavy vehicles and skips. We decided to resurface it with shingle embedded into sprayed tar. That was done yesterday and it has lifted the appearance of the house.
It would have sounded greener to remove the concrete and replace it with a water permeable surface. We are confident that we have not increased the flow of storm water on to the highway and hope we have reduced it by adjusting the levels so that more flows onto our land.
By removing quite a lot of concrete and putting a green roof on the extension we have attenuated water run-off. The bungalow was originally built with soakaways for surface water and we have added another.
But beside the drive quite a lot of concrete was left. A simple solution was to cover it with pebbles, sold as Scottish. Rather more stone miles than I would like but for understandable reasons taking pebbles from fast eroding East Anglian beaches is not allowed.
We also provided channels for rain water to soak away into the earth around the edges of the concrete. The islands of sedum, left over from the green roof, add interest to this low maintenance area.
Overall, we feel we have reached a reasonable compromise between environmental and practical issues.