Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary Ltd and others v Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames: ChD 14 Mar 2008

The defendant proposed an unmanned barrier across a private right of way. Many residents agreed, but the claimants did not. They operated schools requiring access and said that the gates would substantially interfere with their right of way. The council said that it had the required power under the 1933 Act. There had previously been a manned barrier, but the new system involving the use of codes would create difficulties for the many visitors to the school.
Held: The Act unequivocally gave powers to the Authority to install and manage gates. Any prior private rights over the roadways were subsumed in the rights given by the 1933 Act, and were not recovered by prescription or under the doctrine of lost modern grant. The proposed gate would in any event create a very substantial interference by the authority in the statutory rights of access of the claimants and of their licensees. The availability of alternative routes was no answer, and ‘a code-operated barrier is a recipe for chaos in many circumstances. ‘If an attended gate was installed, the council was entitled to charge the residents accordingly under the Act.

John L Powell QC
[2008] EWHC 563 (Ch), Times 18-Apr-2008
Maldens and Coombe Urban District Council Act 1933 11(1), Prescription Act 1832 2
England and Wales

Land, Local Government

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.268728