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wingrovebuyer
wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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Once a road and now, through common use, a footpath for at

Customer Question

Once a road and now, through common use, a footpath for at least 40+ years, can this path be reclaimed as vehicular access to recently claimed land adjoining this path? The path is at the top end of a residential road and bollards across the entry as well as a strong stone wall has prevented access to traffic since the dual carriageway below was built in the '60s. Abutting this path is a football field with no solid boundary and at some point in the Council has sited two seats on the side of the path.
Many residents in this area are elderly and have memories of using the footpath. Is this proof enough of it's "right of prescription" ?
Thank you
Liz Lawson
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 3 years ago.

wingrovebuyer : Hello. When in use as a road and path, do you know if it was public highway?
Customer:

we believe it to have been a public highway long before the 60's leading to a single road. This road became a dual carriageway in the 60's The road/path giving such concern gave access to a Rope Walk and the lower end narrowed to a footpath. Once the business closed (?when - a long time ago ) the upper end was closed to access for all but walkers by bollards and seats were put in place along the side.

Customer:

local residents have memories of this path in use as such for 40+ years

Customer:

I apologise for being unavoidably distracted. Do we continue?

wingrovebuyer : Yes let's.
wingrovebuyer : If the road was public highway, I'm afraid that prescriptive rights can't have arisen. Howeverm if it is a private track, then public and / or private rights are possible, and the old adage that "once a right of way always a right of way" will apply.
wingrovebuyer : It's therefore important to know if is track / path is highway and, if note when it ceased to be highway. The local council should be able to confirm.
Customer:

they 'have lost all records"! Thank you but we have got no further - we know of the old adage but can prove nothing. Surely living memory will count?

wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience: Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
wingrovebuyer and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 3 years ago.
Hi. The concil can tell you if this track is on their list of highways or not. The fact they've "lost the deeds" has nothing to do with this status. If it is highway, there can be no prescriptive rights. If it isn't, then there can be.

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