I was taking a stroll through Hampstead recently when I came across this street sign for Frognal Way, one of the most expensive streets in the UK. I’d never noticed ‘unadopted’ text on a sign before and I was rather intrigued.
Apparently an unadopted street is a street that is not maintained by the local Highway Authority at public expense. This official description is taken from the new snazzy gov.uk website:
‘Unadopted’ roads are those roads not maintained by a highway authority as defined by Highways Act 1980. The description of such roads covers a wide range of circumstances.
For most unadopted residential roads the duty to maintain it falls to the frontagers, ie the owners of the property fronting that road, which may include those where the side, or length, of their property fronts the unadopted road. Those buying property on an unadopted street should be made aware of the situation regarding their property and their related liability for the road. Under Highways Act 1980, local highway authorities may adopt streets that they are not currently responsible for maintaining, but this is purely a matter for local decision.
Mystery solved, although I’d love to hear from someone who lives on an unadopted road about their responsibilities for it.