Following new regulations you can no longer pave over your front garden without considering where the surface water can drain, in most cases it is just a matter of constructing a soakaway, either brick built or soakaway crates, these must be a minimum of 5 metres away from a building.
Certain areas of South London also carry a percentage rule, i.e. you would have to have 50 per cent hard standing + 50 per cent garden, you should check with your local council to see if this applies to your property.
There is also permeable paving blocks, these let water pass straight through into the sub-base where it can drain harmlessly away.
Planning permission is only required if you need to run the surface water into a main drain or onto the public highway.