Please confirm that the right of way over this area is documented in your deeds or some other way, that you have the right to use it.
You say “we all have legal access to use”. How many people are affected by this?
Are the gates locked?
In order to do anything about this, you have to have a documented right-of-way for vehicles. Before a right-of-way is deemed to be obstructed the obstruction must be substantial. If the right-of-way was only on foot, and the gate was not locked, then it’s not a substantial obstruction. If it is locked, but the only gives you a key and the right-of-way is on foot it is probably still not a substantial obstruction.
It is likely to be a substantial obstruction if there is a gate, whether locked or unlocked if you have a vehicle right of access because of the bother of having to get in and out of a vehicle to manoeuvre or use the right, opening and closing the gate.
If the gate owner simply refuses to remove it, you would have no option but to take him to court for an injunction to make him remove the gates or leave them open or put in some automatic system.
Litigation is expensive and hence, the more of you who are involved with this and could contribute towards the legal costs, the better. However anyone who doesn’t contribute will get the benefit of any outcome without having the risk of potential costs if the application fails.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
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If the area that you were using to turn was not part over which you have the right of way, and they have just gated off that part, then it was you who were trespassing if you use that part to assist turning and the gates now prevent this.
You are correct that on a private drive, people can do what they like but they can only do that if it does not interfere with a legitimate and legal right of way.
Unfortunately, the local authority cannot insist as part of a planning stipulation that a neighbour keeps an access free unless there is a roW over it.
I am afraid that if you have no right of way over this area, they are allowed to just exclude you without justification and it would be for the local authority to take it up with the developer as to how and why they did not keep this access open.