Adopted and private roads

Adopted roads within Norfolk are public highway.

Norfolk County Council, the Highway Agency and Norwich City Council do not maintain or repair private roads.

There are many ways in which land can become public highway and one of these is for the land to be dedicated within a legal agreement.

A Section 38 Agreement is completed to secure the development of new estate roads on private land owned by a developer.

Planning permission is initially obtained in respect of an indicative layout.  Following this the developer prepares detailed technical drawings which are forwarded to us for approval.

Once satisfactory, these drawings are added to the completed Section 38 Agreement and used to supervise the construction works, which are carried out by the developer.

This is a legal agreement.  Any anomalies encountered, whilst construction is ongoing, require a formal amendment to the plans.

Once the roads have been completed to the necessary standard, and the compulsory maintenance period successfully completed, we will adopt them as public highway.

There are more agreements where land can be dedicated as highway.  Two of these are agreements made under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 which are known as Highway Authority Design and Build Agreements and Developer Design and Build Agreements.

In addition, for small scale works Norfolk County Council may allow the use of a Small Highway Works Permit, which can also include the dedication of land for highway purposes.  These types of legal agreements and permits affect existing county roads.

A Highway Authority Design and Build Agreement is required where improvements are to be carried-out on roadways forming part of the Strategic Route Hierarchy.

For these purposes, this is defined as all main distributor roads together with those roads defined under the New Roads and Street Works Act as 'Traffic Sensitive', 'Street with Special Engineering Difficulty' or 'Protected Street'.

In these agreements, we prepare the detailed design of the works, procure the works and supervise construction, but all costs are met by the developer.

A Developer Design and Build Agreement controls the design and construction of highway improvements assessed to cost in excess of £20,000 and which are not located on the Strategic Route Hierarchy.

In these agreements, the developer is permitted to prepare the detailed design of the scheme for our approval and then allowed to construct the improvements on the public highway, using a contractor approved by us, in accordance with an agreed programme.

However, ultimate control of the highway works will rest with us via the procedures set out in the legal agreement.

Small scale works on non-strategic routes, the estimated value of which does not exceed £20,000, may be carried-out under cover of a simple agreement known as a Small Highway Works Permit.

A clause may be inserted into the agreement or permit to provide for the dedication of land, if required, together with a drawing detailing the area in question.

Once the development is complete, the developer is required to produce "As Built" drawings which detail the works carried out, together with any amendments required to the drawing in respect of land dedication. These drawings can then be used to assist in determining a highway boundary.

An adoption plan is produced based on the drawings attached to the legal agreements. These drawings show the new highway land, which is generally the carriageway and the surrounding verges or footpaths. It also has the name of the developer, the date of adoption and a file reference referring to the legal agreement.

The List of Streets is a directory of highways which are maintainable at the public expense in accordance with the Highways Act 1980 s36 (6).  

The following legal events can cause the List of Streets to be amended:

  • Renaming of an existing street
  • Adoption of an un-adopted street
  • Stopping up of a street
  • Classification or declassification of a street
  • Amendment of the Definitive Map and Statement of public rights of way

 The presence of a street on our list does not necessarily mean it can be driven or ridden along. For example it may be subject to a traffic regulation order restricting use.

 Each street within the List of Streets has been assigned the following:

  • Road number
  • Road name
  • Parish
  • District number
  • Date of adoption
  • Description
  • Length

District numbers have been allocated as follows:

  •  1 = North Norfolk
  •  2 = King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
  •  3 = Breckland
  •  4 = Norwich
  •  5 = Broadland
  •  6 = Great Yarmouth
  •  7 = South Norfolk

What does the List of Streets not show?

  • All the streets in Norfolk
    The List of Streets only indicates highways that are maintainable at public expense and does not include streets that are privately maintained

  • Trunk Roads
    Please contact the Highways Agency Information Line

  • Who owns the land
    Highways can run over land that is recorded as being in private ownership

  • The width of the Highway
    Entries on the list may include a length but the width of the highway is not given

  • Private access rights
    The records show which highways can be used by the public, they do not show private rights of access

  • Private streets maintained by the council

The List of Streets does not show streets that the Council maintains that are not highway. For example some access roads to Council depots and within school boundaries.

View further information on highway boundaries

Was this webpage helpful?