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Highway adoptions

Road adoption is when we take over the maintenance of a private street. If a road is classified as a private street it means that we, as the highway authority, are under no obligation to carry out repairs or cleansing to the street, even though it could be a public right of way to which law can be applied.

Is my road adopted?

Adopted roads within the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area are shown shaded in yellow on the Highway Map.

New roads

New roads which have been constructed in accordance with our guidelines are normally adopted by way of an agreement between the developer and us under section 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

Existing private streets

Existing private streets will not normally be adopted unless they are brought up to current adoptable standards by the owners of the street and at their own cost. We will expect them to be improved accordingly if a street is:

  • unpaved
  • a cul-de-sac without a turning head
  • without kerbs
  • without footways or has sub-standard width footways
  • without surface water sewers or has sub-standard surface water sewers
  • without gullies and/or street lighting
  • in generally poor condition.

Improving private streets

We may resolve to raise the standard of a private street by providing any or all of the missing features, or by improving any existing features. This is done under the provisions of sections 205 to 218 of the Highways Act 1980, which is also known as the Private Street Works Code.

These works are undertaken at the expense of the owners of the road or of the properties fronting onto it.

Transport Development Management Team

Our Transport Development Management Team oversee the procedures for the adoption of new roads in the area to an acceptable standard so that we, as local highway authority, take on the maintenance responsibility.

This team also provides advice to planning design and control, developers and the public on transportation issues in planning proposals such as parking, access and accessibility for all modes of transport.

Access to highways

Any access to a classified road requires planning permission.

Access to a non-classified road is normally permitted if it is in association with 'permitted development rights' - for example, forming an access to a residential hardstanding area. However, any such 'permitted rights' do not normally allow an access to be formed in a dangerous location.

It is recommended that should anyone be considering forming a new access (or extending an existing one) they should contact us and seek advice on whether planning permission is required.

If you obtain planning permission or have permitted rights to create an access to the highway you will need to apply for a dropped kerb.