Register of Land Owner Declarations
What is a section 31(6) declaration?
If a landowner wishes to ensure that a public right of way is not established across their land through use by the public, then they must ensure that the potential right is challenged in some way. This can take the form of erecting gates, putting up signs or challenging people using the route (amongst other methods). Whilst these approaches can be effective they suffer some drawbacks - signs can be torn down or the wording on the signs insufficiently specific to form a valid challenge.
To provide a more robust method of establishing the position in relation to rights of way on a landholding, a landowner can lodge documents with the local authority, as specified by section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980. Two sets of documentation are required.
Firstly a map of the correct scale must be deposited (the "deposition") with the owner's landholding marked out and highlighting the acknowledged rights of way, together with a sworn statement.
Secondly, within 20 years of the original deposition, a second map and a sworn declaration (the "declaration") that no additional ways have been dedicated since the original deposition was made. Case law (i.e. judgments from the courts) has shown that without the two sets of documentation (the deposition and the declaration, together with the maps) any papers submitted are of minimal value. Several of the entries on this register almost certainly fall short of the standard required.
In the event that a claim for a right of way is subsequently made relating to public use during the period between the submission of the deposition and the subsequent declaration, the existence of the documentation will, in most cases, be sufficient to refute that claim.
Public availability of the register
Doncaster Council has chosen to base access to the Register on a map format:
On opening the map a plan of Doncaster is presented with existing definitive public rights of way marked as red lines and the plots of land for which landowner depositions have been submitted marked as blue areas. If you left click on one of the blue areas a panel will be displayed which gives further detail on the documentation that has been submitted. To keep the presentation reasonably simple, only the date of the initial deposition and the latest declaration are shown. If you require any information on any intervening declarations or the validity of the documentation then please contact the Public Rights of Way section.
The register contains a number of entries that appear to have expired some time ago. Each entry is valid only between the date of the deposition and the date of the subsequent declaration(s). As claims for the establishment of rights of way through 20 years' use may go back in time, these "old" entries are therefore potentially still of relevance. All of the entries on the register bear the names of the people who originally submitted the depositions and declarations. It is known that in some cases land ownership has since changed hands.
In one or two cases the landowner has submitted more than one declaration. As long as the later entries have been submitted within twenty years of the submission date of the previous declaration this then extends the period during which no rights of way can be established.
The information here on the website has no legal standing. In the event of any disagreement, the original documents submitted will be taken as the definitive record.
Are you a landowner?
If you are a landowner and you are interested in making a deposit of documents under section 31(6) of the Highways Act in order to protect against the future establishment of further rights of way across your property, then please contact the Rights of Way section.
You should be aware that depositing documents will not counter the recognition of rights of way established through public usage prior to receipt of those documents.
For further information contact the Public Rights of Way Section
• email: email@example.com
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