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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22386
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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the bridle path in Oxfordshire gives access to the public into

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the bridle path in Oxfordshire gives access to the public into dedicated woodland and for people on horseback. there are approximately access to seven private properties along this stretch of the path obviously with vehicle access and visitors regularly park there for access to the woods.the bridle path takes a lot of wear and there are lots of deep undulations that need repair .Whose responsibility is this and what if the residents carry out repairs what are the consequences for them
Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to help you with this today. Please bear with me if I ask for more information.

Who actually owns this land?

Is it registered or unregistered? Is this the only access to these properties?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I believe it is owned by south Oxfordshire district council. is the only access to these properties.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I believe it to be south Oxfordshire district far as I know the land is is the only access to the properties.

The first thing I would suggest is to avoid doing repairs and that is quite simply because if you do the repairs, and they are defective and someone gets injured, then you are responsible.

I would confirm who owns the land and I would bring pressure on them to repair it on the basis that it is dangerous and someone is going to get hurt.

I have had a similar incident in the past where the council simply would not repair a particular defect because they said it was not a defect. They had altered the pavement and as a result of doing so, water poured across the client’s drive and created a green slick of algae in summer and ice in winter. Numerous letters from the client to the Council by the client were not effective.

We sent them one letter which put them on notice that (in that particular case). They had created a “trap” and that if anyone was injured either from slipping on the wet algae or from slipping on the ice in winter time then as they created the problem, we were giving them notice that they would be liable.

After two years, the problem was resolved within a week of the letter.
In this particular case, the council had not created the problem, but in my opinion, they may be negligent by omission in that they are not repairing bridleway.
If you put them on notice that the bridleway is defective and that if anyone is injured, or any car suspension is damaged, then as you have now brought the defects to their attention, you will hold them liable.

They do owe a duty of care.

However, the road is owned by the council. It seems and over it there is a right of way, but it would not appear to have been adopted and the council, notwithstanding their duty of care, is under no duty to make it into a metalled road.

Under the Occupiers Liability Act. They are under a duty. Also, a statutory duty, to keep lawful visitors safe from harm , which means preventing tripping and accidents etc.

There is also a legal doctrine of “mutual benefit and burden” where anyone who has the benefit of a right of way also has the burden of contributing towards maintaining it.

It seems highly likely that the cars will do more damage than the horses, and in any event, it is difficult to quantify. Which horse used it, which amount, and which person used it, by which amount, whereas it is relatively easy to quantify the houses and divide the cost of the repairs between the number of houses.
My suggestion therefore would be to get the council to repair it and hence they have the liability of the repair is defective, but each of the house owners contribute to the cost in proportion.

There is an argument that the first house in the lane does not have as much benefit as the last house because the last house needs to use more of it, but unless you want an argument, my suggestion would be to simply all houses rights to the Council in the same terms and offered to contribute equally.

Does that answer the question?

Can I help further or answer any specific points?

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