The private access road to the two sites.

We had our eye on two sites now, one owned by the church, the other by the local council but at this point there was a major obstacle to development. This was interesting. There was a little cul-de-sac Lewis Close and both the church plot and council plot seemed to have ready access off it. Apart from one minor point that we understood from subsequent discussions: it was a ‘private road’.

I had not heard of such a thing or imagined it. It is a fact of life that a house needs a drive or an access to get to the front door. It may be just a strip of pavers but if one stops to reflect for a moment it is a big deal! That connection to one unremarkable road is a connection to all roads, all houses, all shops – we can not live without such access and in this case no development could take place without the access. How had it come about? Was all the land free and then some bits got turned into private houses and gardens? Or was it all private and some bits carved out and given to Her Majesty on our behalf?

The church plot was the unused end of a 170ft long garden. Similar garden plots of the neighbours were developed in 1990 into 3 red brick family houses and Lewis Close. After they sold the houses many developers would have got the little road ‘adopted’ – that is taken into the public road network – so that they would not be responsible to maintain it after they had moved on to their next project. But that had not been done here so both plots were landlocked. Who owned it? Would they refuse access? Could they demand a Queen’s Ransom? I set about trying to find the owner…

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