Who owns old ovens under road?

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    Who owns old ovens under road?

    I own a flat in Central London which is a basement flat. Underneath the road are 3 huge old ovens which can only be accessed from the door next to the external steps in my basement. They are not part of my title at Land Registry.

    1 Can I get planning permission to use as a bike shed or bin area even though not included in my title?

    2 Since access can only be made via my land (I own the freehold of the basement flat) does this given me any implied ownership rights either now or in the future? many thanks

    You own the lease for your flat. The freehold title for the entire building is owned by the freeholder company . ?

    Underneath the road means the freeholder is probably the local council.


      I am the freeholder of the block which extend to the pavement but not the road. How does the Council prove its ownership under the road?


        If the council own the road then they own the ground below to the centre of the earth but if you have the only access then why not just use them ?
        They sound amazing and can't imagine why there are ovens under a road...


          By "oven" I assume you mean some sort of storage space which has something of the appearance of an old baker's brick oven. I think it unlikely they were actually ovens as that would have meant chimneys in the street. More likely to have been used for storing coal. Do adjoining properties have them?

          I am not sure you would need planning permission to use the spaces just for any sort of storage.

          If a property is on a public highway there is a presumption that the frontagers own up to the midline. The presumption can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary. However, the ownership is subject to the highway authority having rights in the constructed part of the road usually described as being two spits deep.

          If you are the owner of the freehold of the building then you are the frontager. The fact that the stores are not shown on the Land Registry plan is not conclusive that you do not own them. First, the assumption mentioned above applies. Secondly, if the house was first separated from adjoining land after 31st December 1881, absent any indication to the contrary in the conveyance, the spaces will have been included by the operation of statute.

          If I were you I would just get on and use the spaces and wait for someone to object. Obviously you absolutely avoid making any structural changes so as not to risk the pavmeent collapsing.


            I've got something similar in Margate with a tunnel leading under the road to the nearest pub.


              If I were you I would just get on and use the spaces and wait for someone to object. Obviously you absolutely avoid making any structural changes so as not to risk the pavement collapsing.
              Once again sensible advice from a man who offers such good quality advice it should be always given due consideration.

              Without making any changes to the external appearance of the building, it would not require planning permission if the use was a use ancillary to the use of the building as a residential unit. Storing household goods such as a bike for the personal use of the resident should not cause any problems with the local planning authority, especially if they know nothing about it.


                I can't help with the question as I don't have a clue, however, my field is academic history.

                I wonder if they are retorts? They are like large ovens where coal / coke was burnt to extract gas in the 19th century. There were quite a few around central London during that period. 'If' they are, Historic England would be interested in them, and that could lead to all sorts of issues for you !
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                Last edited by Dos; 30-07-2020, 13:13 PM. Reason: Add photo


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