Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

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zaax
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Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

Post by zaax » Mon May 25, 2020 1:34 am

There is a local unmade lane (it's also a hollow way) that no one knows who owns it, People, cars and bigger use it to access their houses; other places and things. Railtrack use it to access their tracks and there is a WWII gun emplacement just after the rail crossing. No concrete though, so the track wasn't enforced to get the guns down there. The road it comes off is roman and now a major public highway, an archaeological dig found a Grubenhaus (1200 century pithouse) near the end, so the lane is at least 1200 years old.

The local highways department say they don't own it but surely they do as like a 'normal' road as its been there for so long.
I know nothing about the law.

MacadamB53
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Re: Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

Post by MacadamB53 » Mon May 25, 2020 9:00 am

Hi zaax,

an archaeological dig found a Grubenhaus (1200 century pithouse) near the end, so the lane is at least 1200 years old.

to be at least 1200 years old the Grubenhaus would have to have been built in the 9th century, not 12th...

was the purpose of the thread just info or did you have a question for the forum?

kind regards, Mac

zaax
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Re: Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

Post by zaax » Mon May 25, 2020 10:42 pm

Yes, who owns the lane, as the council say they don't. Land registry does not show the owner, neither do house deeds a butting the lane.
I know nothing about the law.

MacadamB53
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Re: Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

Post by MacadamB53 » Mon May 25, 2020 11:26 pm

zaax wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 10:42 pm
Yes, who owns the lane, as the council say they don't. Land registry does not show the owner, neither do house deeds a butting the lane.
the owner of the paper deeds - could be anyone (except those you’ve already ruled out).

why do you need to know?

kind regards, Mac

Clifford Pope
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Re: Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

Post by Clifford Pope » Wed May 27, 2020 7:20 am

My limited understanding is that most lanes and rural roads are not "owned" in the conventional sense.
If the council compulsorily purchases land to build a new road then that is clear - it then owns the road.
But on an ordinary minor road that has always been there, "ownership" of the road is immaterial. The council usually owns the highway, with all the normal traffic rights, etc, and the substance of the road down to a depth of 2' 6". But the presumption, which can be disproved, is that the abutting landowner "owns" the freehold up to the centre of the road.
It's a pretty hollow kind of ownership, with no effective rights attached.
Except that, interestingly, our local council did respect our right to have a water pipe crossing the road, deeper than 2'6". (We own the land on both sides of the road, with an attached cottage and outbuildings on the other side to the house) A few years ago they repaired the culvert under the road, and had to carefully dig round the pipe. Our solicitor confirmed that although Land Registry maps do not normally include roads within property boundaries, nonetheless the ownership presumption holds good, but can be challenged if anyone else has a better claim to ownership.

So I don't think it matters who owns your lane. What matters is what rights anyone has to use it.

mr sheen
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Re: Who owns a 1200 year old lane?

Post by mr sheen » Wed May 27, 2020 11:02 am

Like many historic ways, the ownership may be unknown but it is actually irrelevant. Lots of people use it and only the owner is likely to be able to stop people using it. Many users will have historic rights over it and some people may have gained rights over it by long usage, so even if the ‘owner’ comes forward it will be difficult to start restricting use of it.

If the Council say they don’t own it then they probably don’t.

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