Access to new development via private road

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    Access to new development via private road


    I live on a street with 46 houses cul-de-sac. it is a private road - The land/road etc is owned by a the maintenance company made up pf residents, of which all of the households pay into for the upkeep and own 1/46th of the land each.

    The private track/road running behind one side of the houses leads to a farm track and eventually to a farm - the farmer has been given access to his farm via our road (his only access to the farm) -historically (about 15 years) this was something that did not used to happen, but was granted due to changes to his original access route - a new housing development complained about farm vehicles etc!

    The farm has put in a planning application to develop 8 dwellings from the existing barns at the end of the farm track, with 40 car parking spaces! The access route shown on the planing application is using the private road (as mentioned above) to gain access to the farm track leading to the proposed dwellings.
    The private road and the farm track are both single lane with no scope for widening apart from half way down the farm track there could be some passing places put in - the rest of the track have houses or fields at either sides (that can't be altered).
    The private road is tarmacked but is not in good condition it is sinking in places from the little use it has. It is used for resident parking (which is needed) with space for one car to pass and children play at the back.
    The farm track is a rough track with no tarmac.

    The farm land also has pubic footpaths that are used a lot by dog walkers etc - the extra cars going down the farm track would make it unsafe for pedestrians to use.

    The residents are not happy about the proposed route of access and I just want to know if the above is grounds for objection to the planning and what would be the best way to go about demonstrating that the access route is unsuitable for 40 extra vehicles and that amenities would be lost through proposed access.

    Any advice would be great


    The request for planning consent will only relate to the new dwellings and any access to the public highway not your private road.

    Is the developer the farmer? It seems rather remiss of him not to try to negotiate with the private road management company first but maybe that is how he works.

    Key is what was in the written agreement for him to use the private road in the first place and length of time.
    How long has the farm been there - he must have had some sort of vehicle access historically?

    You all need to object to your local planning authority about the lack of safety/path problem and get your local councilors involved. In some areas if there are more than 10 objections then the application can be called before the planning board.

    Read up on local planning policy for your area, local plans and

    Freedom at the point of zero............


      There are several aspect to this.

      Before incurring any expense or trouble, you need to establish that the road is indeed private, and not a public highway not maintainable at public expense. From the limited information you have supplied it sounds private, but the devil can be in the detail.

      As to planning, detailed advice cannot be given in a forum. The residents can get together and agree a submission to the local authority and hope they make a decision in your favour. However, if a sufficient number of residents are prepared to meet the cost, it may be a good idea to engage a planning consultant to prepare the submission.

      I can comment further on the access question if you let us know exactly what rights the farmer currently has.


        Thank you for your replies to my post.

        In regards to the farmer’s access - he has had access for approx 30 years via the private section of road in order to get to and from the farm/house which are the only things at the end of the farm track.

        To describe the route - a vehicle would turn off the main road public highway, onto the private section of the road owned by the maintenance company - (it is definitely not a publicly maintained highway it is written into the deeds for each house.) that then leads to the farm track.

        as far as we know there is no written agreement for the farmers access it has just been allowed by the maintenance company.

        The maintenance company has now been served a notice to inform them of the proposed plans as the red line drawing include the use of the private road for access. There was a mistake on the planning form which is why they had not previously been consulted.

        Are the maintence company allowed to deny access via the private road for the development as it will be a change of use from access to the farm to access to 11 dwellings?


          The status of the farmer's right (if he has one) is not clear from what you say. The possibilities include:

          (a) He was informally granted permission to use the road

          The permission can be revoked by reasonable notice.

          (b) He was given a formal licence to use the road

          The permission can be revoked by notice as required by the licence.

          (c) There was an informal arrangement where he was allowed to use the road in exchange for some benefit conferred on the Man Co or frontagers

          That may give him an equitable easement. I can go into what that implies if that was the arrangement.

          (d) He was granted a formal easement and the Man Co does not have a copy.

          Clearly he has a right, but it may be limited by the terms of the granted - hopefully for agricultural purposes only. If there is no limitation see below.

          (e) He has acquired an easement by long user

          By its nature the right will not be subject to an express limitation, The question therefore arises whether the right is unlimited or limited. Even if it is unlimited, my observations below apply.

          If there is an easement the question you pose at the end of your last post is very pertinent. The law says that, even if a grant of an easement is not limited, the burden of the easement cannot be unreasonably increased. What is an unreasonable increase is going to depend on the facts of each case, but there should be a case to be made if the change is from a farm to 11 dwellings.

          The thing to do is to go through the Man Co's records and look at the title to the road to see if there is anything relevant. If there is not, I suggest writing to the farmer telling him that his licence to use the road is revoked and that you will be erecting a barrier to prevent access to the farm. That should provoke a response (!) letting you know on what grounds he thinks has a right of access.

          Even if the farmer has an easement he is not in the clear because of the increase in burden factor. Accordingly, whether he has an easement or not, if the frontagers are prepared to be flexible they may be able to negotiate a deal to their advantage involving cash and/or an upgrade of the road at the farmer's expense. As an absolute minimum there needs to be an agreement about future maintenance of the road.

          If title to the road is not registered I recommend registering it.


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