Public access easier to prevent
Are you tired of members of the public using paths and accessways on land belonging to your school as a shortcut?
People readily assume that paths and accessways on your land are public highways just because they afford easy or convenient access not just to other school property but to other parts of the town. They may well do this even though there are signs on your property stating that the paths or accessways are private property.
Under S31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 a landowner can make an application to the local highways authority and council to rebut a presumed dedication of way as a highway and therefore extinguish the public right of way.
Previously, after receiving the application, the authority had to post a notice of the application in an obvious place on the land, as well as on the authority’s website and by email to any interested parties.
Understandably many schools, who are landowners, have been deterred from making such an application because they are wary of the negative publicity that the application might attract.
But now the authorities no longer have to publicise those applications.
Now that you do not have to be named and shamed at the outset, perhaps it is time to reconsider making your application to the authorities to rebut the presumption that certain ways are highways. We can help with this if you would like us to.
And keep maintaining those signs and overtly communicating to the public that those ways are private and not public highways!
This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org