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London borough defeats housebuilders in dispute over adoption of roads

A district judge has ruled that two roads are of so little use to the public that the London Borough of Barnet need not adopt them.

Francis Taylor Building’s Caroline Daly acted for the council in the case where housebuilders Bellway Homes and Taylor Wimpey Homes had applied under s37 of the Highways Act 1980 to have the roads adopted without entering into a s38 agreement, and without being required to pay commuted sums towards their upkeep.

Barnet argued successfully at Willesden Magistrates’ Court that the two roads, with no through route, on the Halliwick Park Estate in Friern Barnet were not of sufficient utility to the public to justify them becoming maintainable at public expense under s37(2). 

The district judge agreed with Barnet’s application of its highway adoption criteria policy on the basis that the roads did not have a wider use than simply providing access to residential properties.

The council put similar criteria used by other highways authorities before the court in support of its case.

FTB said the case was thought to be the first under s37 to go before the magistrates' court.

Mark Smulian

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