No compensation for lack of access

Posted: 29th July 2013

If a local council needs to erect a barrier to protect pedestrians and the barrier prevents a property owner from accessing his land by vehicle or parking a vehicle on it, is the landowner entitled to compensation from the council?

Road worksA recent case addressing this point was decided by the Supreme Court. The landowner claimed that his rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 were breached by the council’s action – namely his right to ‘peaceful enjoyment’ of his possessions.

The Court took the view that the council’s action (taken under the Highways Act 1980) had to be considered in the context of whether or not it struck a fair balance between the competing interests of the landowner and pedestrians generally.

The Court ruled that the council’s action was neither an abuse of its powers nor an unreasonable infringement of the landowner’s rights.