What is a private
A private street is a street that Kent County Council does not
look after. It can be a private road or a public road which has not
been 'adopted' by us. This means we do not look after the road.
What is the difference?
Public roads we have not adopted are streets that the public can
use. Vehicles, pedestrians and horses may be able to use the road.
A private road is a road that the public do not have any right to
Can I park in a private street?
If you have the landowner's permission and there are no signs
saying that you cannot park, you can probably park in the private
street. You can park on public roads we have not adopted as long as
you do not cause an obstruction.
How can I find out if the street where I live has any 'rights
of way' over it?
We keep records of all public rights of way in Kent and can tell you
about rights of way in your street. Sometimes, rights of way are
not recorded and are recognised simply because people have been
using the streets over a period of time. For example, when there
are no private-road signs or gates and people use the street to get
to other streets.
My street was adopted some time ago but I am still paying
charges. How can I find out how much I owe?
You need to contact us. We can give you advice about payments,
outstanding balances and any other related financial issues.
Buying a house in a private street
How will I know if the street I'm buying a house in is
Your solicitor will carry out a local search. This will tell you
whether the street is private or looked after by us.
I'm thinking of buying a property in a private street. What
will my responsibilities be?
Usually the people who own or live in the houses in a private
street are responsible for maintaining it.
I'm buying a property in a street that has been improved and
adopted by the council. Will there be any charges owed or
Whoever owns the property when the work is carried out usually
pays the costs. They will normally have to pay back any charges
owed when they sell the property. Your solicitor will be able to
tell you if there are any charges owed before you buy the
I'm thinking of buying a property in a private street. Will I
pay less council tax or am I entitled to a rebate?
Council tax is used to pay for all the services provided, not
just for maintaining roads and footpaths. If you do not use some of
these services, it does not entitle you to a council tax
For example, someone who does not have any children still has to
pay full council tax even though they do not use the education
services that are available. The only way to reduce the level of
council tax is to appeal against the house valuation band using the
Repairs, maintenance and access
The private street I live in has potholes. Will you repair
We do not carry out repairs in streets we do not maintain. If
urgent repairs are needed to make the street safe, we may ask you
and the other residents to carry them out.
There is a bridge in our private street. Who is responsible for
maintaining the bridge and does it need a weight limit?
You are responsible for maintaining bridges in your private
street. We can insist on a weight limit if there is a public right
of way over the bridge in the interest of safety.
Can we put a gate across our private street to stop the general
public using it?
It depends if the public have a right to use your street. If
there are any public rights of way, it will not be possible to put
up the gate.
If you do put up a gate, it must not prevent the emergency
services and refuse collectors getting to the street. You
may need planning permission to put up the gate. Please contact
your local planning authority for further advice.
Can we build road humps on our private street?
To avoid any legal action, such as someone claiming for damage
to their car, you should make sure any road humps meet the
Department for Transport's latest regulations.
Getting a private street adopted
I live in a private street and am interested in getting the
street adopted. What do I need to do?
You and the other residents of the street will need to make sure
any work that has or will be carried out in the street meets our
To do this you need to:
- Set up a formal residents' association.
- Hire a competent engineer or consultant to give you
- Hire a contractor who is familiar with carrying out street
- You and the other residents will have to pay all the costs
What work would have to be carried out to bring a private
street up to your standards?
We would assess what work is needed to meet adoption standards.
This may include the following:
- The layout of the street, including footpaths, places to turn
round, the width of the road, bends, slopes, visibility and
- How the road has been built and to what standards.
- Drainage proposals.
- The needs of service companies. For example, there may be pipes
or cables that have to be moved or laid.
- Whether street lighting is needed.
- The needs of disabled people.
- Any changes required to property boundaries and driveways.
We would then let you know what work is necessary.
How much does it cost to bring a road up to adoption
It can cost anything from £400 to £500 for every metre of road.
If you have a frontage of ten metres, it would cost between £4,000
How is the street adopted and who then looks after it?
When we are happy that the street meets our standards for
adoption, we will put public notices up in the street confirming
adoption. These inform people that it is now a publicly-maintained
road. We would then be responsible for looking after it.
Can anybody object to the road being adopted?
Yes. For a period of 28 days after the notices have been put up,
anyone can object. Objections are heard and resolved in the local
magistrates' court. Magistrates can stop the adoption if they agree
with the objections.