Agenda item

Highway Adoption and the Process Involved


The Chair welcomed County Councillor Keith Iddon, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport; and Neil Stevens, Highways Development Control Manager, to the meeting.


The report presented aimed to describe the process of the local highway authority in considering and adopting a road, having regard to typical issues and other influences that often occur, delaying adoption and who is responsible for un-adopted roads.


 A Section 38 was used for the adoption of a road and it was delivered under the Highway's Act. Until a new road was completed to an acceptable standard, it was not eligible to be maintained by Lancashire County Council. Adoption usually took around five years from when construction of a development began. Once roads were adopted into the highway they were then maintained at the public expense.


Members were informed that the Highways Authority had a good relationship with developers but that a lot of developers did not want to start discussions on the requirements of adoption at the start of the planning process.


One complicating factor was a requirement for a newly adopted road to be directly connected to another adopted highway without a gap. This was a problem on large estates with many developers working to different timescales or if the road to be adopted was connected to the rest of the network via a bridge which was not maintained by the county council.


Before Lancashire County Council could adopt a road, highways officers had to be satisfied that it met the standard which they had set for the rest of the road network in the county. That included ensuring that work above and below the surface was up to standard including the need to provide proper drainage of surface water from new developments. Legal agreements with statutory drainage authorities needed to be in place before a road could be adopted.


During the construction phase of a road on a new development, highways officers visited the site to make sure they were satisfied with the work. There was then a minimum twelve month gap between a road being laid and it being adopted, with a checklist having to be completed first. It was pointed out to the committee that the county council nor district councils were in a position where they could insist a developer had to put a road up for adoption. Concerns were highlighted for residents of new developments who often were ill informed at the time of purchase about the process of road adoption were then left with un-adopted roads, often years after the purchase. It was felt that the purchasers should be made fully aware at an early stage of what agreements had been put in place. This was reflected under Recommendation 1 of the report which suggested to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) that a timeline of adoption could be provided to purchasers as part of the planning conditions.


Following a detailed discussion it was agreed that Recommendation 1 would be reworded to provide greater clarity and circulated to members.


Resolved: That in relation to Recommendation 1 of the report that this be reworded in light of the discussion and circulated to members and in relation to Recommendations 2 to 5 that these be approved:


  1. Officers inform relevant Councillors at the time of a road being adopted.
  2. Officers work more closely with Councillors (residents) in locations where house builders are slow in progressing the adoption process (where there are no issues that cannot be resolved).
  3. Officers look at opportunities to strengthen the partnership approach between house builders, utilities (drainage), LPA and the highway authority in strategic development locations to assist where possible to unlock issues and speed up the adoption process.
  4. Officers inform the relevant Councillor if a road is NOT suitable for adoption and reasons why.


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