Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask the original surface of the drive please at the time the easement was granted? Was it new tarmac at that time?
The landowner has a right to request payments for maintenance if there is a provision for the same in the easement which from what you say there is. This however does not extend to a right to request contributions for improvement. He may not collect more than is reasonable to restore the track to a condition better than it was when the easement was granted.
From what you say he proposes to improve the condition to significantly beyond what it was at the point the easement was granted. This is of course is right providing it does not derogate from the easement granted which tarmac would not, but he would be liable for paying the difference between the cost of restoration and the cost of improvement.
Accordingly you would not be liable to pay for the cost of improvements beyond restoring the track to a similar condition to that which it was in at the time the easement was granted.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
He can't do that. That would be a derogation of your right of way.
You would if necessary seek an injunction to require him to remove the gates or provide you with access (i.e. a key).
You may consider offering to make a reasonable contribution towards repairs but not improvement and ask that he considers his position accordingly
This can either be agreed between you all which would be preferable or in the event of a dispute would either need to be resolved by a surveyor or ultimately by the county court based on appropriate expert evidence.
No user can refuse to contribute a reasonable amount towards maintenance and restoration if there is similar provision in the title deeds to your own but as to any amount that is unreasonable (e.g. costs or excessive compared to other quotes) or improvement, this is not recoverable.
A pleasure. Good luck!
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