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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70179
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Wiltshire Council have closed 3 country lanes without a notice

Customer Question

Wiltshire Council have closed 3 country lanes without a notice period. They have announced they have done it on safety grounds, because of increased traffic flow on these lanes caused by a major local road being closed. They could remain closed for up to 6months.
Is this legal ??
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What is the safety issue?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

increased traffic flow, poor driver behavior, (speeding), damage to verges, and an accident but no one was hurt.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Are they doing any work?

Is it the council that has ordered the lane closure or the Department of Transport?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They are not doing any work on these lanes which they have closed. It is the council who have ordered the closures.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

They do have a statutory power to close roads in the event of a need.

For planned works they should advertise it for 12 weeks. For emergencies do not need to advertise it at all for obvious reasons.

That said, there should be something happening! They cannot just close roads and then fail to work upon them. Obviously that doesn't mean that work must be taking place literally 24/7 but there should be ongoing work.

6 months does seem excessive. I haven't seen the nature of the safety issue here or the prognosis but it would take really substantial work for it to last 6 months.

To sue them though you would need to show that you are suffering loss as a result of this.

If you just want to complain then you can do so to your councillor.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for reply,


Possible misunderstanding here though. The three country lanes they have closed are only because of resident pressure to perceived increase traffic flow whilst the major route is closed, the councillor being one of those residents. There is no work to be done on these lanes, but it is likely that the lanes would suffer if the lanes were reopened.


The 6 month estimated time is the time for the major route to be reopened.


As an agricultural contractor, I, along with many others use these lanes as arterial routes, not as diversions, and the continued closure is seriously affecting my and other peoples business.


However, bearing in mind what you have already said, I find it difficult to understand how the Council fulfill the 'need' criteria.


I hope I have explained myself sufficiently well.


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, it depends whether they are arguing that its not remedial but preventative measures.

I suppose they could argue that amounts to an emergency so not subject to the advertising requirements.