Thank you for the above. Perhaps it would be helpful if I address both scenarios. The first step, much or all or which you have likely already covered based on what you say is to attempt to identify the owner of the roadway. This is by no means always possible that enquiries would normally include carrying out a search of the index map at the land Registry, checking with the local authority whether they have any records relating to public rights of way which may identify an owner and inspecting your title deeds to ascertain whether there is an owner of the land mentioned in any deed which grants you a right of way over the road which may assist in identifying the current owner. As I mention, it sounds from what you say that you have already undertaken much if not all of this investigation and your investigation has not yielded any results.
If this is the case, there are usually two principal ways in which you can seek to obtain formal rights over the road. The first is to contact the local authority, about the council potentially adopting the road. This may be desirable in that after adoption, the council will be responsible for maintaining the road but the negatives associated with this is that the council may not be willing, if they are, will likely seek to charge a not insubstantial sum in order to bring the road up to adoption requirements (such a sum may be manageable if many residents are prepared to contribute) and after adoption, the road will be subject to public rights of way just as any other public road and the council can enforce parking restrictions.
The above is not desirable or achievable, you can instead look at claiming ownership based on what are known as frontagers rights. these are common law rights for property owner to claim ownership to a road fronting his property to the extent his property fronts the road up to the middle point of the road. In other words, the extent of the road that runs in front of your property up to the middle of the road. the disadvantage with this approach is that you are claiming such rights on your own is unlikely to be of any significant benefit other than the potential benefits of renewable to control parking immediately outside your house. however, where frontagers rights can be useful is if there are houses all along the road and multiple residents are keen or willing to collectively claim frontagers rights. If there is this will, a residents Association can be formed and a a solicitor instructed to act collectively for that association in order to claim rights over the road which is then held by trustees for the association (one or more residents can be a trustee). These rights can then be regitered at H M Land Registry and then if it is wished, the association can then grant a formal right of way to residents that lack one over the road. Similarly, the association can then be responsible for maintaining the road subject to contributions from the various residents.
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