Highway Maintenance

Adopted Highway, Status Enquiries and Extinguishment of Highway Rights

1.1.0 Introduction

The Highway Authority has a responsibility to manage the processes required for the creation of publicly maintainable highway, the recording of its extent and the extinguishment (stopping-up) of highway rights.

1.1.1 Adopted Highway

These are sections of the highway network for which the Highway Authority is responsible for maintenance at public expense.

Publicly maintainable highway can be created in a number of ways

  1. By historic precedent if it was highway prior to 1835.

  2. By formal dedication or conveyance to the Highway Authority for highway purposes.

  3. By formal adoption as public highway.

  4. By acquisition, if usage by the public for a period of at least 20 years can be demonstrated.

1.1.2 Status Enquiries


Hampshire County Council, as the Highway Authority, are obliged to keep and maintain a register of roads maintainable at public expense – the List of Streets. The register is made accessible to members of the public at all reasonable times via inspection at its offices or on the Hampshire County Council website.

1.1.3 Extinguishment of Highway Rights

Where areas of public highway are considered by the Highway Authority to be surplus to highway requirements, the public rights of way can be extinguished by an Order made by Magistrates. An application has to be made to the Magistrates’ Court by the Highway Authority on behalf of an applicant.

1.2.0 Relevant Legislation

The following legal statements define the relevant issues pertinent to the creation of adopted highway, status enquiries and to the extinguishment of highway rights:

1.2.1 Adopted Highway

Highways Act 1980                                                                                        

Section 24    Creation of a new road by the Highway Authority.

Section 31    Creation of a public highway through 20 years of uninterrupted public use.

Section 36(2)    Adoption of highways pursuant to Part V of the Housing Act 1957.

Section 36(6)    Requirement to keep a register of highways maintainable at public expense.

Section 37    Offer to dedicate a highway by a landowner.

Section 38    Agreement to adopt highway between the landowner and the Highway Authority.

Section 228    Adoption by the Highway Authority where there is no known landowner.

Section 239    Powers for the Highway Authority to acquire land for highway purposes.

Section 258    Exchange of land for highway improvement purposes.

Section 278    Agreement to adopt highway works constructed by a third party.

1.2.2 Status Enquiries

Highways Act 1980

Section 36(6)    Requirement to keep a register of highways maintainable at public expense.

1.2.3 Extinguishment of Highway Rights

Highways Act 1980

Section 116    Powers for the Highway Authority to seek an extinguishment of highway rights.

Town & Country Planning Act 1990

Section 247    Extinguishment of highway rights in conjunction with building development.

1.2.4 Policy

1.3.1 Adoption Policy

  1. Highway rights are conveyed on any area that is adopted by the Highway Authority under Section 37 or 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

  2. The Highway Authority shall establish, prior to adoption, that the area under consideration will serve a useful highway function by having the status of ‘Highway’.

  3. Any road, footway, footpath, cycle track or verge that has been constructed in accordance with the Highway Authority’s specification and is to be used routinely on a regular basis by pedestrians, cycles or vehicles shall be designated as highway and adopted as such.

  4. The area of adoption shall include margins as required to achieve the necessary visibility standards or maintenance of the infrastructure. The adopted areas shall include any specific design features such as regulatory signs, street lighting and speed restraint points.

  5. The adopted area may include margins to accommodate Statutory Undertakers’ apparatus.

  6. It is recognised that trees and shrubs have an important environmental role and may relate to particular highway features. In themselves, the areas of land incorporating such landscaping features seldom warrant the status of ‘Highway’ and conveyed highway rights. There is a presumption against the adoption of verges where the sole purpose is landscaping, screening or amenity use. Such areas shall primarily be the responsibility of the District Council or, in certain situations, it may be appropriate for the developer or landowner to assume the responsibility. Any such arrangements shall be subject to consultation and agreement of the Highway Authority prior to the granting of detailed planning permission and approval of the layout.

  7. Remote footways forming separate access to an individual or small group of properties shall not normally be adopted and shall be subject to discussion and agreement with the Local Planning Authority or Housing Association.

  8. Separate areas allocated for vehicle parking and/or access to remote garages, parking areas and drives to individual or small groups of properties shall not be adopted and shall be subject to discussion and agreement with the Local Planning Authority or Housing Association.

  9. There is scope for external bodies to manage and maintain planted and landscaped areas of designated highway subject to agreement and licence arrangements with the Highway Authority and Local Planning Authority.

  10. Any new road or associated area forming part of  a new development site shall be constructed in accordance with HCC's Companion Document to Manual for Streets.

1.3.2 Status Enquiries

The Highway Authority shall provide information with regard to the extent of the publicly maintainable highway upon payment of a fee. The highway extent shall be researched with reference to the following information sources:

  1. Enclosure and tithe maps from the 19th century.

  2. Historic Ordnance Survey maps.

  3. Local Government Handover Maps 1929.

  4. Highway Deeds.

  5. Highway Maintenance Records.

  6. Other relevant information.

1.3.3 Extinguishment of Highway Rights


When considering requests for the extinguishment of highway rights the Council shall apply the following criteria in determining whether the land is considered to be surplus to highway requirements:                                                                                           

  1. Is the land required for sight line purposes, forward visibility splays for all traffic including pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists?

  2. Is the land required for any future highway improvement scheme?

  3. Could the extinguishment and disposal of the land result in a change to the character of the street scene?

  4. Could the extinguishment and disposal of the land result in a perceived loss of amenity value if transferred from public to private ownership, including environmental considerations?

  5. Could the extinguishment and disposal of the land result in perceived gain to the applicant but to the detriment of local residents: for example, to secure private parking on land which previously enjoyed and demonstrated general access or utility? Local residents are consulted in the course of all applications.

  6. If the land is owned by Hampshire County Council does it need to be retained for other purposes?                                                                                      

Where areas of publicly maintainable highway are affected by new development an application should be made to the Secretary of State for the ‘stopping up’ of such areas under Section 247 of The Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Version No:   1.0

Effective from:   14/10/2010

If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.