Who’s responsible for maintaining this cycle path? Section 30 of the Highways Act.

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
This is a joint use cycle / foot path that I use regularly. I think we’d all agree it could do with a bit of maintenance to make it safe:

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This is the sign at the end of the path:


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This sign is a few feet away from the blue sign:

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The local council website directs me to the county council website. I’ve emailed the county council and they tell me that:

“(We) have looked at our plans and can confirm that the above named cycle path does not form part of the adopted public highway, maintainable at public expense. We have never inspected this path and it is not listed on our inventory.”

In light of the county council reply I’ve emailed the local council and am awaiting their reply.

Link to Section 30 of the Highways Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/30

Can anyone tell me what Section 30 means in layman’s terms? Any other thoughts?
 

Pete Owens

Well-Known Member
It means that that path is the private concern of the landowner - just as if you built a path in your back garden you would expect to maintain it at your own expense. It is possible that the sign was put there by the landowner to prevent the path becoming a right of way so that they have the option of closing it at some point in the future.

The most common occurrence of highways becoming adopted is where new housing developments are built on green-field sites. The highways authority will only adopt the new roads once they are assured that they have been constructed to an appropriate standard. It is fairly common to encounter a residential road where this has not been done. The builder never built the road properly, so the council never adopted it and maintenance became the responsibility of the residents who are reluctant to pay to maintain it so it degenerates into a potholed gravel track. Years later residents ask the council to fix it, but they council will not adopt it until it is fixed.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
@Pete Owens is basically right. I'd interpret that sign as indicating that it is a "permissive path". Given it looks like those are full highways-spec signs, I'd strongly suspect the landowner (responsible for maintenance) is the local borough/district council and that they paid the county council to put up the signs, possibly simply by the provision of the route and possibly so long ago that neither will be able to find the contracts or records - in the past, our local cycling campaign has pulled copies of cycle route land sale contracts from our archives that neither council has been able to find, in order to resolve problems.

It may be worth checking the county council website to see if they've any produced any maps including that as part of their cycle route network. If so, the highways or rights of way teams really ought to either make the landowner maintain it in line with whatever permission contract exists, or provide a suitable alternative link in their network, but that's only my opinion.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Link to Section 30 of the Highways Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/30

Can anyone tell me what Section 30 means in layman’s terms? Any other thoughts?
I think it empowers town and village/parish/community councils to turn any paths on their own into highways and to spend money bringing them up to adoptable standard. Why do you mention it?

The sign seems to refer to Section 31, which allows land to become highway by default after 20 years of use "unless there is sufficient evidence that there was no intention during that period to dedicate it", so you quite often see some version of that sign on permissive paths, such as tiny writing on Sustrans blue panels on fenceposts, or small sign bricks built into walls. I think it's rare to see one made up as a full TSRGD-spec road sign.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
[QUOTE 5165101, member: 45"]It's private land, so I don't think the landowner has any obligation to maintain the cycle path. It might be worth finding out who owns the land and contacting them. Is it the hospital's?[/QUOTE]
Really? I very much doubt that a landowner can provide a cycle route and have it signed either by themselves or the county council and then successfully argue that they can neglect it until it becomes dangerous. I'd expect the "common duty of care" or something like it to apply to the landowner and require them to maintain it, plus I'd also expect whatever permission enabled it to be signed as a through route from the highway would specify maintenance.

There is some danger that the landowner may prefer to close the route than to repair it, but if it's a public body, that may be too politically embarrassing.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
[QUOTE 5165115, member: 45"]That's why I'm asking who owns the land. The landowner puts a sign up to legally keep their options open in terms of allowing access, so they have no obligation to maintain the route.[/QUOTE]
I agree that they don't have to maintain it in the sense of keeping on providing the route. I'm fairly confident that they have to maintain it in the sense of keeping it not dangerous while it's open and signposted - you wouldn't put up a road sign saying "M1 >" pointing up your private road, then leave something damaging cars on it unrepaired and expect to get away unpunished.
 
OP
simon.r

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
I think it empowers town and village/parish/community councils to turn any paths on their own into highways and to spend money bringing them up to adoptable standard. Why do you mention it?

The sign seems to refer to Section 31...
You’re right, sorry, should have linked to Section 31.
 
OP
simon.r

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
I made the OP as I anticipated the local council wouldn’t be helpful and I was after information to use if I had to discuss it with them in detail.

Remarkably I had an email back from someone at the council within a couple of hours saying “I have put a sheet in to get the path tidied up in the near future”.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’m very hopeful that it’ll soon be sorted.
 
OP
simon.r

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
Remarkably I had an email back from someone at the council within a couple of hours saying “I have put a sheet in to get the path tidied up in the near future”.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’m very hopeful that it’ll soon be sorted.
Look what’s happened sometime in the last few days:

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A slight concern that the retaining wall hasn’t been repaired, but I’m hoping that will be done in due course:

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A big thumbs up to Gedling Borough Council:okay:
 

BoldonLad

Veteran
Location
South Tyneside
Perhaps, it simply needed someone to report it?

Slightly different topic, but, whilst I am out cycling, I often observe examples of fly-tipping. The local Council have a website, where such things can be reported. I always report the examples I have come across, and, without fail, they are cleared in a day or two. There is also a "Local" Facebook Page, where people are continually moaning about fly tipping, and, the Council's lack of response to it.

This leads me to think, if the FB Warriors put the same effort into using the Council website to report fly tipping, the area would be much more attractive (Since I doubt that Mark is going to send one of his employees around to clean up the mess).

Pleased you got a result.

Hopefully, wall be fixed in due course. ;)
 
OP
simon.r

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
Perhaps, it simply needed someone to report it?
Very good point.

There are a few other local cycle paths that could be improved without too much effort or expense (levelling out a hard packed gravel path to avoid large puddles forming across its entire width comes to mind). I won’t push my luck, but I’ll keep an eye on it and report it if it becomes much worse.
 
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