On the road

In quashing an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a front roof extension at a house in east London (DCS Number 400-016-410) an inspector has considered the definition of a highway.

The difference between the parties concerned whether or not the roof extension was permitted development, and the inspector identified the determining issue as being whether it fronted a highway. The 2015 GPDO states that the term “highway” includes an unadopted street or a private way and the term “unadopted street” means a street not being a highway maintainable at the public expense, he recorded. He further explained that a highway is a defined route over which the public at large can pass and repass as frequently as they wish without hindrance and without charge. It can come into existence through a statutory order or an agreement made with the landowner or by being dedicated as a highway by the landowner (either expressly or by presumption or by deemed dedication after 20 years’ public use). The use by the public must be as of right and not on sufferance or by licence. The right can be limited to a particular class of user or mode of transport. A privately-owned or privately-maintained way can be a highway, but only if the public at large can use it as of right.

The inspector found that the walkway to the front of the house did not fit within any of these descriptions. He concluded that it was not a highway and the front roof extension was therefore permitted development.

The following DCP section is relevant: 4.3442

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