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NEW VEHICULAR ACCESS RIGHTS FOR HOME OWNERS

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People who have been denied the right of access to their homes due to ...
People who have been denied the right of access to their homes due to

an anomaly in the law will now have security of access due to

government action. New procedures setting out how people can obtain a

legal right to drive over common land to reach their homes are now in

force, rural affairs minister Alun Michael confirmed today.

Until now, people who could only obtain access to their premises via

common land would have to negotiate with the owner of the common to

obtain an 'easement'. Despite the fact that vehicular use had gone

unchallenged for many years, owners of premises faced having to pay

large sums of compensation (sometimes up to 10% of the value of the

property) in return for the grant of an easement.

The new rules provide for the creation of a statutory easement to

which the owners of commons cannot object provided the conditions are

met and procedures complied with. In return, they will receive a

reasonable sum of compensation. Owners of premises in existence on or

before 31 December 1905 will pay 0.25% of the value of the premises.

Owners of premises coming into existence between 1 January 1906 and

30 November 1930 will pay 0.5%. Owners of all other premises will pay

2%. These are one-off payments, and the right of access will benefit

current and future owners of the premises.

Commenting on the new procedures which are set out in regulations

under section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Alun

Michael said:

'These regulations strike a fair balance between landowners and the

owners of premises served by the vehicular access. A permanent right

will be created and landowners will receive reasonable compensation.'

Notes

1. Section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 applies

to all land over which it is an offence to drive. This might be

common, or similar, land, registered town and village green or

certain other land. Because it is an offence to drive over the

land, rights of vehicular access through long use (over 20 years -

usually referred to as prescriptive rights) cannot normally be

acquired. This fact has often been overlooked when properties on or

adjacent to common land have been built, with the result that many

owners of such properties have found that they do not have a legal

right of vehicular access to their home, and are faced with having

to pay a large sum of money to secure such a right.

2. The regulations under section 68 provide owners of premises with

a means of obtaining a statutory easement allowing vehicular access

to their premises. They also deal with issues such as the criteria

to be met in order to apply for easements, how to apply and contain

dispute resolution procedures. They also provide for compensation

to be paid by the owner of the premises to the owner of the common.

3. The regulations came into effect on 4 July 2002.

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