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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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The Council have just closed our road to vehicles, blocking

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The Council have just closed our road to vehicles, blocking off three out of four access routes to the building we work from. The remaining route in crosses a small bridge and has a weight restriction meaning that we can no longer take normal deliveries of materials or carry out building works which are planned. Large vehicles such as fire engines will no longer be able to get to our building in an emergency which is now isolated. Protests have been lodged previously to no avail and we are also not allowed access to evidence supporting the road closure. Additional routes to the rear of the building - used on a frequent basis - now require physical removal and replacement on each occasion of bollards. The road is a long established road normally used by the whole community and links access on a south west axis. What access rights do we actually have and is this reasonable ?
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.What steps have you taken so far with the Council please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Alex
As stated in original details we have been to a public consultation meeting, at which we raised objections to road closure on basis of lack of factual evidence provided to support this and also impact on our established use of building plus health and safety issues. The wider community also raised objections, Access is now severeley restricted and for some types impossible. We had a meeting on site to discuss impact with two representatives of Highways. A formal letter of objection has been made recently and within the deadline for cpomplaints. The work has been carried out this week with more expected.
Ok, what does your local Councillor say about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Local councillor has been to visit us at our invitation following the public consultation but feels the City Council will eventually just impose this and ther's nothing we can do about it in his opinion.
Ok, you can consider several options:1) Complain to the Chief Officer of the Council. That office can investigate the matter and report back to you. You can ask for a copy of evidence under the Freedom of Information Act and this should be supplied2) If that does not work then you can complain to the Ombudsman, they are independent and can examine your complaint for free at: www.lgo.org.uk3) Finally you can consider a Judicial Review. This is where a Judge in the High Court considers all the evidence, the decision made and decides whether it is legal and reasonable. The Court can agree with the decision or remit it back for further consideration. Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you - the main question however is what actual rights do we have regarding access to our place of work - in other words, after thirty years of occupancy does the Highways Department have the right to close us off from normal access ?
Yes they do, but only after proper consultation and taking into account all relevant factors and not taking into account irrelevant factors.
Can I clarify anything else for you? Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I imagine it's difficult to answer succinctly but can you give a rough indication of what are considered to be relevant factors in a case such as this ? For us this includes capacity to run and operate a building, our own personal health and safety since this creates an isolation risk, emergency access, public visibility and access since also gifted as a public building (something we are in the process of restoring) - which, if any of these, can be taken into consideration ? Similarly no informationhas been given to us regarding the bollard system we are now meant to operate, some of our own vehicles may not be able to pass through the gaps which have been left and we aren't even sure we can physically manhandle bollards.
Sadly I can't because I dont know their reasons. I havent seen any evidence so I cant say why and how they reached the decision which is why I cant really give a view. It could be for safety, volume, highway isnt suitable, all sorts of reasons.
Does that clarifY? Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Almost. What happens if, in the interim i.e. whilst complaining to Council. to Ombusdsman and so forth - an incident occurs relating to the closure of the road and can be clearly linked ? Would the Highways Department be liable ? I ask this since it was risk aversion that has caused the closure of the road even though no actual accidents or incidents have been reported.
Potentially yes they would be liable. but you would need to show a causal link. If you can then yes they may be liable.
Does that clarify? Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Nearly there ! Just to reconfirm that although the Highways have told us we are not entitled to see any of the evidence Highways claim justify the road closure e.g. traffic surveys, road subsidence, details of an incident in Kent in which a council was sued this is in fact not the case and we should be allowed access so it can be independently assessed or verified ?
Well you can - you are entitled to it under the Freedom of Information Act. It cant be that sensitive it cant be disclosed. Does that help?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, indeed. It's a matter of great concern and even the scheme they said would be implemented is very much more extensive than that which was discussed with us on site. Includes bollards already installed which we have not yet been issued with keys for although already locked. Again not sure that closing this without making any provision in advance is correct.
Of course. This is what a court can look at, if they didnt make any provision then that may be considered unreasonable.Can I clarify anything else for you? Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, I think that covers everything for now, many thanks for your help, much appreciated.
Good luck and have a good weekend. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go, so the site credits me for the time spent with you. Thanks
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