unadopted road

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audi1961 | 10:15 Thu 03rd Jan 2008 | Civil
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why do local authorities not adopt all roads especially when it is used by others such as bin wagons or large delivery vehicles and is there a process to go thru so that the road can become adopted, thanx in advance for any help


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There are many reasons for the council not adopting a road, i live in an unadopted road ( did not know when we bought it or would of avoided it ) and we have tried many times to find out why it is unadopted and have been told different reasons on each enquiry, from, someone else owns a strip of land that we have to cross to enter our road to it being to narrow !! whats even more annoying is we have no street lights and have to pay for all our own road repairs, but we are not entitled to any council tax discount !!! my personal advice to anyone looking to buy a property in an unadopted road is think very, very carefully first and look into how the up keep of the road is managed ie do the residents pay into a fund so the money is there ready should repairs be needed, or is the bill split between the houses when the work is done and risk one or more houses saying they cant pay !,
Question Author
yes like you i didnt know the road was unadopted when i bought house, but it is used alot by a very well know supermarket and the pot holes they have caused are a nightmare to avoid when either walking or driving maybe its about time us residents aked them to contribute to resurfacing it. no one has ever asked the council to adopt the road as far as i know so maybe should try them first and see what responce we get. thanx for your help
The primary reason why a council will not adopt a private road is cost - why on earth should they? When new estates are planned, the developers do a deal with the council that they will bring the roads up to an adoptable standard (surface, drainage, kerbs). This work is done by the developer, the council inspects then legally agrees to take on future maintenance. This means the the cost of the road is being borne by those buying the new houses (never forget that).
With an unadopted road, the legal owner of it can voluntarily pass it across to the local authority, but they won't take it on unless the road is up to standard in the first place.
So as residents of the road, you have problem: sometimes you are joint owners of the land on which the road runs, when you could band together, fund the road improvement and pass road to the council. If you are not joint owners (but have a legal right of way) you could get the owner to do it. But what's in it for him? - nothing.
The straight answer to both of you is that your solicitor should have advised you the road was unadopted it when you bought it.
The vehicles going down the road is not relevant - do you want your parcels delivered and your bins emptied or not?
Question Author
sorry should of said the road isnt as far as i have ever seen been used by parcel delivery men but is used by a supermarmarket lorry to the back entrance of their building for goods so maybe like us they are resposible for maintenance costs and i will check this out and yes i and everyone else want our bins emptied, is that not why we pay council tax in the first place.
The supermarket lorries may not have a legal right of way along the private road to the back entrance - you would have to check that out. If not, the owner of the private road is perfectly at liberty to stop that use.
Council tax is for services - and for highways it is for roads maintenance, not construction.
Sorry, but you will get nowhere with trying to persuade a council to adopt an unmade road. Many local 'road infrastructure improvements' are actually paid for by the developer (e.g. a new roundabout off an existing highway to lead to a new tesco superstore.)
Here's someone else (in Sunderland) who is trying to raise the visibility of this issue (locally and nationally) through his own website. #intro
Potentially a solicitor could do something with the question of access to the supermarket!

If they want to continue using it perhaps they could be forced to pay for the upkeep?
Question Author
will have a look at sunderland and will contact supermarket and see if they are willing or are also liable with us for costs, thanx
The city council here adopted a road in Liverpool 8 (where else!) at the drop of a hat (took 3 weeks) your solicitor should have advised you of the roads status.
With regard to maintainence the council is usually your best option, you need to speak to the environmental health officer he will view the site and make his reccomendation. If he deems work needs to be undertaken he will issue an enforcement notice, which you ignore. He will then (after I think 30 days) accept tenders for the work and undertake it himself and charge each householder (or whoever's liable) equally.
If you want the council to spend money in your area then you need to organise the residents into an angry mob and have a riot.
Toxteth is like a sponge for inward investment now, and has been for years.
Unfortunately the perils of living on a "private" road , You all need to have a meeting and flash the cash to the travelling tarmac boys who wander from town to town , filling the potholes up may make it last a while longer .....
but we are not entitled to any council tax discount !!

Well in general terms - yes you are, and could be already getting it. Your house is presumably worth less because you are on an unadopted road, and if (big if maybe) that is sufficient to take you into a lower band then you will pay less tax.
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reply to tufty, dont think the road is classed as private as others also use it for access to their houses both on foot and car also no signs up to say it is for access by residents only or a limit on vehicle size seeing as i believe that the very large supermarket vehicles that use it are mainly responsible for the damage, thats if there is such a sign in existance, also it isnt a new development been up about 25 years and only has 8 houses on and the one supermarket, so thanx to you all for your help and advice. will check out if supermarket was built befor or after houses or same time. xx
If it was me I would get an action plan together with your 8 neighbours and suggest that you ALL plan to block the entrance for the supermarket lorries so that the problem can be raised to a higher level at the supermarket , the 8 houses must have cars ?? use them , when the lorry driver can't get through tell him to go get the manager , explain the situation and say we will lift this on this occasion but we need the road you have damaged fixing, then see what happens if nothing happens , do it for a day no lorries allowed that will cause so much distruption to them and if it makes the papers the negative publicity will certainly get some action ,

Best of luck !!
It may be a private road but you may need to check that it is still not classed as a highway
I live on a private road and when I with consent from all the other 10 residents put up a sign to limit access to residents or permitees
I was imformed by the highways dpt of the council that the road was in fact classed as a Highway and I was breaking the law with my sign
so a private Road with common access IE a highway
The Council can no duty to maintain this highway
Dave, definition of a highway: -
A road in respect of which there is an established right for the public to pass and re-pass, includes public footpaths and bridleways as well as all "roads" as defined by the Road Traffic Act.
Therefore yours is not a private road.
Hi Builderes mate
I understand that, but on our deeds we the residents own the road to the centre line therefore we own the road as part of our property even though it is classed as a highway
it is a single unadopted sandy road leading to the beach
regards Dave G
Ok I can live with that.
Its a privately-owned road, but a public right of way for all types of traffic (foot passengers, horses and motor vehicles).
Hi Builders mate
yep thats it
thanks for your replies and contacts
regards Dave g
To develop the discussion re Unadopted Road and Public Right of Way - from the other side as it were.

We live on an estate which has adopted roads. There has been a route into the estate from both ends, both of which I had assumed were Council maintained. However last weekend a gate was installed across one access without any notice or explanation. This is despite the fact that our house has been occupied for over 22 years and other houses have been in use for much longer. I've still not had any official explanation, but hearsay is that the now gated approach road is a 'private road' which the adjoining properties pay to maintain and that those residents have paid for the gate and again hearsay is that the local parish council approved the action. It appears to me that they've assumed that only the properties paying to maintain the road have rights over it, though by passage of time people living on our estate have been using that road for access for over 20 years without let or hindrance and therefore have acquired rights even if they did not previously exist. The original developer who still lives in the area also believes that he had the rights of access over that road and that he passed those rights on when he conveyed the building plots to the individuals who developed them.

I was in ignorance that the road was unadoped and had I known would have been sympathetic to making some contribution to its maintenance or adoption. However I do note that property prices along unadopted roads tend to be lower due to the liability for maintenance of the road and also that this should also be reflected in the council tax banding as well - so it's not that unfair to the owners of properties on unadopted roads.

Any feedback/advice/comments?

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