Obviously enough, private roads and estates need physical maintenance: road surfaces need to be repaired and renewed, grass verges need to be kept tidy, and shrubs and trees need attention from time to time. And, apart from purely practical considerations, the amenity of the area needs to be preserved: the road must be cared for if it is to look attractive. The need for maintenance brings with it the need for a residents' association or company, so that residents can take the necessary action collectively. Furthermore, risks have to be understood and managed. Private roads and estates are not by nature particularly risky places, but they often lack the features which are expected in public roads such as pavements, signs, and lighting. If an accident occurs, the residents' association or company may well find itself on the receiving end of a demand for compensation. Already the management of the road has acquired a significant degree of complexity and difficulty. But this is far from being the end of the matter.
Private roads are shared resources, since they are used by residents for access and parking. But members of the public often want to use private roads too, as "rat-runs" and as free car-parks, especially if they are close to a school, or a station, or shops. Pressure from developers can bring serious problems in the form of disturbance, nuisance, and disputes over rights of way. Local authorities may take an interest in private roads, and seek to impose their own views about what rights exist and what residents can and cannot do.
Inaction is unwise. The laws is often complicated and unpredictable in its effect. Furthermore, it is extremely creative: illegal encroachment can create a permanent legal right if it is simply ignored. A proactive approach is therefore necessary, to anticipate problems, understand how to deal with conflicting interests and demands, and to keep things under control in a way which is friendly but firm.
To do this effectively a residents' association must have at its disposal a considerable degree of information and expertise, and a good grasp of the best practical solutions to problems.
Our aim is to provide our members with that expertise. It's right to stress that the emphasis is on prevention, rather than cure: in this context, prevention is almost always easier, quicker and cheaper than cure. And it should be said that a cure may be unavailable at any price. A public right of way, for example, may prove impossible to remove once it has been allowed to arise.
The following pages explain what we offer.