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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I own and live in a house in the middle of a park owned by

Customer Question

I own and live in a house in the middle of a park owned by Oxford City Council. In 2002 I made an agreement with OCC to pay a half-share (with them) for the installation of an automatic rising bollard at the entrance to the park, and they were to take care of maintenance. The road into the park is on City Council land and is thus not a public highway.
After a few years the bollard broke down and OCC refused to repair it, so I paid for the repair and took out a small claims against them, which I lost because the judge found that the letter I had from the council did not constitute a proper contract.
Since then, the bollard remains in use, including by council vehicles, but the council refuse to pay anything towards maintenance. Recently, a council employee ran into the bollard by accident. This was investigated by the council and there was no fault with the bollard.
My question is, if there was an accident in the future that was indeed caused by a malfunction of the bollard, who would be liable? Also, If I put up a sign saying "Drivers use this bollard entirely at their own risk" would that work?
Thanks
T. Green
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Whose land is the bollard on please?

Customer: The bollard is in the access road to the park, which is on Oxford City Council land, and not a public highway.
Alex Watts :

Ok, if the Council own the land then they are responsible for reapir.

Alex Watts :

What would happen is that they would repair it and then invoice the person who caused the damage.

Alex Watts :

But if it is on their land and they are responsible for the upkeep then they are responsible.

Alex Watts :

I would however after your small claim get something better from them in writing confirming the position

Alex Watts :

That is the position in terms of maintenance

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: My question is what would happen if, for instance, the bollard came up under a car and damaged it, and the bollard was found to be faulty. Please note that the council refuse to pay anything towards maintenance now - that is all paid by me
Alex Watts :

If you have taken responsibility for maintenance then you would be responsible.

Alex Watts :

Ideally you want to get a letter from them, agreeing that you hand over the ownership and maintenance to them

Alex Watts :

That would absolve any responsibility

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer: Does the fact that the original installation was done jointly? Also, would a sign adjacent to the bollard stating users do so at their own risk carry any weight?
Alex Watts :

Yes but if you are maintaining it that shifts it to you.

Alex Watts :

Yes a sign next to it would certainly help, but you can't exclude personal injury from liability

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer: Apart from getting the City Council to re-take responsibility, which they refuse to do, is there anything I can do to remove this risk?
Alex Watts :

Remove - no sadly.

Alex Watts :

All you can do is limit and maybe take out insurance

Alex Watts :

Does this answer your question today?

Customer: I cannot take insurance as it's not on my land - i tried that.
Alex Watts :

Ah ok.

Alex Watts :

You may be able to take out some form of public liability

Alex Watts :

But save for that no.

Customer: I have a public liability insurance - it's part of the requirement the council made when selling me the house. Should that cover it?
Alex Watts :

Yes, but check with them to make sure.

Customer: If I do that, don't you think they would suddenly make it exclude this problem?
Alex Watts :

Not necessarily, but they are more likely to not cover you if they dont know about it

Alex Watts :

They use any excuse so best to inform

Customer: OK, I think that's a good idea, I'll do that.
Alex Watts :

Does this answer your question today?

Customer: Yes thanks
Alex Watts :

Great, if that is the case might I invite you to rate my answer

Alex Watts :

If the system wont let you please do say

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

Customer: Can I get back to you if I get more info in the futute
Alex Watts :

Of course, just put any new questions for me and I can pick them up, even if I am in Court.

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

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