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Going private

Residents in a public road - particularly a cul-de-sac - may feel that it would be better if it became private, so that responsibility for management passed to them.

This can be done.  It involves an application by the local authority to a magistrates' court for a "stopping up" order.

Step 1 is to make contact with the relevant local authority, to see whether they are open to persuasion. (NB that if they are, it will be necessary to meet their costs in making the application to the magistrates' court.

Step 2  is to consider sider what will happen when the road is "stopped up". The road will revert to its previous owner, and public rights of way will cease. Who will be the owner? Will residents have private rights of way, which will be necessary once public rights of way have been removed?  It's important to be clear about the answers to these questions before asking the local authority to go ahead.  Uncertainty about ownership of the road, or the existence of private rights of way, may cause serious problems for residents wishing to sell their house. 

Before proceeding, the assistance of a good local solicitor will be highly desirable.

Since there is not a great deal we can do to help either with Step 1 or with Step 2, we don't offer PRS membership to residents' associations in adopted (i.e. public) roads who want to "go private". But they will probably find a copy of our book helpful on the legal background.


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For more information, please see our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page for more information about:

  • Private roads and estates
  • Our insurance scheme
  • How we can help
  • Contacts