Road adoption is a term used to describe the Council taking over
the maintenance responsibility for a "Private Street" or a newly
Roads which are not adopted may sometimes be Private Streets -
that is, they may not be open to the public in general and may even
be privately owned by one or more individuals. A Street such
as this for example might be unpaved, without kerbs, footways,
surface water sewers, gullies or lighting or even all of these
features, and its surface could be in poor condition. It is
not maintained at public expense.
This means that the council as a Highway Authority is under no
obligation to carry out repair or cleansing to the street, even
though it might be a Public Right of Way to which highway and
traffic law can be applied. Occasionally a Private Street may
carry a sign which clearly states "Private" or "Unadopted"
although this alone is not necessarily proof of any private
The majority of roads in Northumberland are adopted, that is to
say the County Council as Highways Authority maintains the roads on
behalf of the public.
Roads which are not adopted may have some other Public Highway
status (e.g. Public Footpath or Bridleway).
Although also maintained roads, Trunk Roads in Northumberland -
the A1, A69 and A19 - are not the responsibility of Northumberland
County Council. These roads are cared for by The Highways Agency or
by their agents. Questions about and information relating to these
three named roads should be directed to:
A1 & A19
Unit A Derwenthaugh
Tyne & Wear
Tel: +44 (0) 1325 389 991 Fax: +44 (0)1325
Telephone: 01661 842842
New roads that have been constructed in accordance with the
Council's guidelines usually become adopted by way of an
agreement between the developer and the Council under Section 38 of
the Highways act 1980, however, it is not mandatory to enter into
such an agreement.
Where an agreement does exist - and should the developer
unfortunately go into receivership - the existing road system can
ultimately be completed and then formally adopted. Routinely,
roads remain with the developer for a period of one year after
completion (the "Maintenance Period") and - if no major defects are
found after that time – formal adoption will then take place.
If you have any questions relating to any of the above highway
issues please contact me on the number provided or by
Terry Rogerson email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01670 624138