This means a roadway where all the adjacent owners, and any members of the
public visiting them, have normal rights of way although the roadway itself is
not owned or maintained by the Local Authority. This may be due to an historic
anomaly where the original landowner refused an offer to convey the roadway to
the local authority or some other legal impediment arose.
Although new home builders are required to take out an insurance bond to cover the cost of constructing the new roads on a residential development it can happen that the firm goes bankrupt and it later transpires the premium was never paid while the roads remain partially completed. The local authority cannot take over the maintenance until the roads are surfaced to the minimum statutory standards – hence stalemate. In the worst case the roads may remain unadopted for years which can cause the residents problems when they come to resell their property as mortgagees do not like the indecision and possible liability.
The best solution is for the home-owners, collectively, to pay to upgrade the road sharing the cost in proportion to their road frontage. These payments are called road charges. Sometimes the local authority will undertake the actual work once it has the necessary commitments from all the residents. However, it only needs one or two residents to default for the road to remain unadopted.