HighwayDedication for public use - house built abutting existing lane - highway authority not entitled to claim part of garden as highwayHale v Norfolk County Council: CA (Chadwick and Hale LJJ): 17 November 2000Part of the claimant's garden abutted the highway, a narrow lane.
The council as highway authority claimed part of the land abutting the lane for public use as highway.
A judge upheld its case, relying on an act of dedication by the claimant's predecessor in title who had built the house in 1968.
He held that ss 25 and 30(4) of the Public Health Act 1925,by-laws applicable in 1968 (relating to building and the deemed creation of new streets and requiring a highway a width of at least 36 feet), and the rebuttable hedge to hedge presumption (Attorney-General v Beynon  Ch 1) resulted in the lane being within the bounds of a 'new street,' so entitling the council to claim public rights over the land abutting the lane and within 36 feet of the hedge on its far side.
The claimant appealed.Nicholas Caddick (instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit) for the claimant.
Graham Sinclair (instructed by the Director of Law and Administration, Norfolk County Council, Norwich) for the council.Held, allowing the appeal, that the Public Health Act 1925 concerned public safety and could not confer rights over private land; that in the absence of sufficient evidence of any appropriate act by the claimant or her predecessor the disputed land was not to be taken as having been dedicated to public use as part of the highway; and that in such circumstance the council could not rely on the rebuttable hedge to hedge presumption to claim rights over any part of the claimant's land.