Private Streets

A 'private street' is a road which is not maintained at public expense. This means that the council as a Highway Authority is under no obligation to carry out repairs or cleansing to the street even though it could be a public right of way to which highway and traffic law can be applied.

Road adoption is a process where a road in private ownership becomes a public road, or 'adopted highway'. This is then managed and maintained by the council, as part of the public highway if its layout and construction meet the appropriate standards.

New roads that have been constructed in accordance with the council's guidelines are normally adopted by way of an agreement between the developer and the council under section 38 of the Act. Existing roads will not normally be adopted unless they are brought up to current standards by the owners of the road. It may for example be unpaved, without kerbs, footways, surface water sewers, gullies and lighting or any of these features and its surface is probably in a bad condition.

Under the provisions of Sections 205 to 218 of the Highways Act 1980, the Highway Authority (in this case the council), may resolve to raising the standard of a private street by providing any or all of the missing features or by improving the standard of any existing features. This procedure enables the council on completion of necessary remedial works to adopt the street as a highway maintainable at public expense.

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Is my street owned publicly or privately?

This information can be found in the Highways Register.

The Register provides a complete list of roads in the borough and can be searched online using the link above.

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Page last updated:

November 24, 2022

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