Unregistered footpath - Right of Way

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  • Unregistered footpath - Right of Way

    The footpath has existed since 1958/9 when the housing estate was built.
    The land was purchased / owned by the council prior to being sold to a developer circa 1957/8 but they have no records.
    Land Registry say that the company that owned the land in 1958 was Manor Park Construction.
    I cannot trace the old company. (A new company exists but is not connected to the original).
    The Council maintains the footpath and has done so for as far back as can be remembered.
    The Council state, however, that this is an anomaly and it is not a Council footpath plus it does not show in their Rights of Way register.
    The Land Registry confirm that the footpath is unregistered.
    The footpath has now been considerably reduced in width along one section because the adjacent owner has decided to erect a replacement 2 meter high fence on top of the concrete path instead to the original line alongside the footpath.
    The footpath until recently has not been restricted or gated and has been in constant use from its construction circa 1958 to this day.
    I can obtain confirmation of its existence and use if necessary by getting signatures from local residents some of whom have used the footpath as of its completion circa 1958.
    The Council say that they can do nothing unless the know the owner of the land.
    How do I protect the footpath and the right of way?

  • #2
    Contact the Ramblers
    - there will probably be a local group who you can contact: There is usually a footpaths representative (quality varies...)

    see also
    I think one key thing is to collate (someone to collate..) records from as many people as possible stating how they've used it freely for how ever many years.. but this isn't an area I know...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


    • #3
      Unless you live in an Inner London Borough, serve a notice on the council under section 130A of the Highways Act 1980.


      • #4
        Land Registry say that the company that owned the land in 1958 was Manor Park Construction.
        The Land Registry confirm that the footpath is unregistered.
        These two statements are inconsistent. If the footpath does not have a registered title the LR will not have details of a 1958 owner.

        As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful (provided it relates to property in England & Wales) but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.


        • #5
          Many Local Highway Authorities are obliged to keep a definitive map and statement showing public footpaths and bridleways.

          If you are in such an area then you need to make an application to change the Definitive Map and Statement because a public highway being a footpath is not currently recorded. That is known as a Definite Map Modification Order.

          That is when local people can provide statements indicating that use by the public has occured for more than 20 years which is sufficient to show that a public highway exists.Only once the HA accept that a public highway exists can they implement the provisions of the Highways Act 1980 to remove an obstruction.

          Unless that is proven, the previous mention to "serve a notice on the council under section 130A of the Highways Act 1980." has no effect.
          You first need to prove there is a public highway by making a DMMO application or seeking a declaration from a court. The latter costs legal fees, the former just some effort in making an application and securing sufficient evidence to prove the claim.


          • #6
            Whilst I agree with Pilman that a notice under section 130A is of no effect if the way in question is not a highway, I cannot agree it is of no effect if the way is not shown on the definitive map. Of course if the way is not shown on the definitive map you may have to convince the highway authority that it is a highway, but the fact is that if the way is a highway then the highway authority has a duty to protect it.


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