Owning a private right of way, returning it to the council?

Owning a private right of way, returning it to the council?

Postby wardylaw » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:09 pm

Hi all,

We're currently looking at a property where the purchase includes both the title for the property itself (freehold) as well as a title for a private right of way (footpath) that gives access to the property as well as the back gardens of many others. I've attached an image that shows the actual building in blue (the title boundaries are the black lines that surround it) as well as the length of the footpath in red (it runs between the back gardens of several properties). So I have a couple of questions:

1) Is it advisable to take on ownership of a private right of way, or is this something to generally avoid? If it were just up to the property itself from the main road it would be one thing, but it looks like quite a bit to be responsible for!

2) Can rights of way such as this be sold/donated to the council? In the sense that we don't want to be responsible for it, and are happy to let the council own it as a public right of way instead?

footpath.jpg
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby Collaborate » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:08 am

No reason for you not to own it, and frankly as it also serves your property it's better that you do own it. there will be absolutely no obligation on you to maintain it, though you would be able to stop anyone using it who did't have the benefit of a ROW.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:07 am

Collaborate wrote:No reason for you not to own it, and frankly as it also serves your property it's better that you do own it. there will be absolutely no obligation on you to maintain it, though you would be able to stop anyone using it who did't have the benefit of a ROW.
whilst all this is true, you also need to be aware that lots of folk think they know better and you might be buying yourself a load of aggro from neighbours demanding you maintain the path or mediate in their squabbles - I’d do some back ground checks on this by asking the neighbours direct before buying...
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby arborlad » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:24 am

wardylaw wrote:2) Can rights of way such as this be sold/donated to the council? In the sense that we don't want to be responsible for it, and are happy to let the council own it as a public right of way instead?

footpath.jpg




You should check the status of this land on the definitive Map and Statement, either at the Council Offices, Main Library or online. It is already marked FP - Footpath and looks to continue under different ownership to another highway.

What was the appearance of the land when you viewed, did it look well used and maintained?
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:56 am

Hi,

As the paper owner of the ROW, you have some control over how other people treat it ... back lanes tend to be regarded as dumping grounds for garden waste, bonfires, rubble, dog sanitation, etc.

As I understand it, you cannot block a ROW, but you do not have to maintain it. I am uncertain if you can be forced to remove/prevent someone else's blockage.

I have read that the owner of a ROW cannot be held liable for injury caused by the ROW. Can anyone confirm?

If the council adopt a highway, they can demand that the properties fronting the highway make a contribution to the cost of bring it up to standard. Does the same apply to back lanes and footpaths?

Me? I'd keep it. It might just happen that some of your neighbour's will club together, in the distant future, and develop a vehicle access to the rear. But if you do decide to divest yourself, small strips of land are occasionally listed in rightmove.co.uk ... usually for auction.

John W
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby span » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:41 am

All those properties displayed on the map that the ROW could serve..... How many of them does it currently serve?

Might be a nice little earner to buy it and offer to sell a ROW to those properties, if they aren't currently set up with it.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby wardylaw » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:26 pm

The footpath is nicely paved from the left-hand side up until the property in blue, and from then on its more of an overgrown forest-type mud track, with overhang from trees and quite a lot growing up through it. It's very thin in places, at most about a car's width and in places only half that.

It doesn't serve any of the properties, as although it meets their back gardens (and back gardens only, no front of property access is via the footpath) there's no gates or anything on to it. It's not a particularly "useful" path in that it doesn't really go anywhere that's not easier or quicker by taking routes around the "block" of properties that you can see on the map.

My reasoning for "donating" it to the council is purely so that it does maybe see more upkeep than we'd be willing to or have time to put in, and also for the mention of neighbours disputes, injury etc. It may be that you aren't liable for anything of the sort, but that won't stop people from bringing it up, trying to drag you into it etc. and maybe in places necessating the time and money of a solicitor to prove that that's the case.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby arborlad » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:09 pm

arborlad wrote:
wardylaw wrote:2) Can rights of way such as this be sold/donated to the council? In the sense that we don't want to be responsible for it, and are happy to let the council own it as a public right of way instead?

footpath.jpg




You should check the status of this land on the definitive Map and Statement, either at the Council Offices, Main Library or online. It is already marked FP - Footpath and looks to continue under different ownership to another highway.

What was the appearance of the land when you viewed, did it look well used and maintained?




Did you do this?
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby wardylaw » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:39 pm

arborlad wrote:Did you do this?


The council's website lists the path as shown outlined in red on the title deed as a right of way footpath yes, the same as the deed does.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:47 pm

Hi,

If the two houses to the right (East) of the blue house wanted garages, the path to the North of the blue house could be useful, if it was wide enough, or could be made wider.

What would be the value of vehicular access be to those two houses, and what impact would it have on your property? What are the chances of getting PP for one extra dwelling in those two gardens? They each provide a bit of their garden, you provide the access, joint planning application ... share the proceeds. I'm sure Mrs May would be in favour. ;-)

John W
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby wardylaw » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:01 pm

I honestly don't think there would be enough room to get a car down there to make a garage in that position useful; on the north side of the top of the footpath is a school, and I'd say that top part of the footpath is the widest point, and even then it's at most about 3 feet wide. The south end of the footpath joins another footpath, that again is too small to give access to anything useful.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby arborlad » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:53 pm

wardylaw wrote:
2) Can rights of way such as this be sold/donated to the council? In the sense that we don't want to be responsible for it, and are happy to let the council own it as a public right of way instead?

footpath.jpg





If the footpath is listed on the Definitive Map and Statement and you go ahead with the purchase, this will in effect be the situation.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby wardylaw » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:04 pm

arborlad wrote:If the footpath is listed on the Definitive Map and Statement and you go ahead with the purchase, this will in effect be the situation.


In the sense that, because it's a footpath, they're responsible for the upkeep even though we own the title for the land that the footpath is on?
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby arborlad » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:10 pm

wardylaw wrote:
arborlad wrote:If the footpath is listed on the Definitive Map and Statement and you go ahead with the purchase, this will in effect be the situation.


In the sense that, because it's a footpath, they're responsible for the upkeep even though we own the title for the land that the footpath is on?




Yes.
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Re: Owning a private right of way, returning it to the counc

Postby ukmicky » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:41 pm

For it to be a public right of way it would need to serve more than those houses ,it needs to serve the pubic at large so it would need to exit at both ends . Without that extra exit it’s for private use not public and the chances of the council accepting the donation of a private right of way is virtually zero.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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