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Road adoptions, and representations on highway works

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Section 38 - 278 application form [127.5 KB] [xls]

Section 38 - 278 guidance notes [164.5 KB] [pdf].

Section 171 application form (from 1st April 2024) [53.0 KB] [pdf] for development related schemes. 

For applications to work on private households (such as vehicle crossover), please contact East Sussex Highways:

Electronic copies of Section 38 agreements and Section 278 agreements are charged at £15. Please see Highway extent searches (highway boundaries).

Adoption of new roads

The Council may adopt new roads that are constructed to our design and construction standards. This is usually confirmed under a Section 38 agreement under the Highways Act 1980.

Adoption of existing roads

The Council will consider adoption of existing private roads and streets providing they are brought up to an adoptable standard by the owners.

Adoption is usually progressed under Section 228 of the Highways Act 1980. For further information, please contact us:

Highway improvements

The Council may agree to authorise highway improvements carried out by third parties, usually via a Section 278 agreement under the Highways Act 1980.

Design guidance

Please find below our latest local design guidance and links to national design standards:

Construction Specifications

East Sussex Council Council construction specification for developers [529.4 KB] [pdf]

Acceptance form – highway construction specification for developers [100.7 KB] [docx]

Most planning applications are determined by the relevant Local Planning Authority (LPA), which is the District or Borough or National Park Authority. East Sussex County Council grants permission for specific developments including minerals extraction, waste management together with the County Council's own development, such as schools and libraries. The Planning Inspectorate can also grant planning consent, mainly where applications have initially been refused permission, but then successfully appealed. As part of the public consultation that LPA’s carry out, in instances where development is likely to affect the transport network, the LPA’s consult the County Council in our role as Local Highway Authority (LHA). Following detailed assessment we may request conditions and measures to be undertaken to mitigate the impacts of development.

For relevant developments, it is at the planning application stage where key transport and highway matters are addressed in principle. Often this will include the type of junction (i.e. a roundabout, signalised junction, right turn lane or a simple priority junction) that will provide access onto the highway network, the scope of any off site works required to mitigate the impact of the development (i.e. pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, improvements to existing junctions close to the development site or Street Lighting) and the internal road layout of the development.

New or altered Highway infrastructure is often a critical component of many proposed new developments and as such is secured through the planning process, by either a legal agreement or condition.

Once a site has planning permission we cannot fundamentally amend the approved layout and we cannot refuse to enter into an agreement for the developer to undertake the highway works required to facilitate the development provided that all appropriate design and safety standards are met.

A Section 278 Agreement (Highways Act, 1980) allows developers to enter into a legal agreement with the County Council to make alterations or improvements to the public highway. The Council normally use this section of the Highways Act to allow the developer to employ a contractor and for that contractor to work on the existing public highway in the same way as if the County Council, as the highway authority, were carrying out the works instead. The developer is responsible for all aspects of the works on the public highway, from design through to construction. The County Council will inspect the works to ensure that they are constructed in accordance with the agreed specification.

We are aware that highway works can be a cause of concern and there can be objections to them taking place. The time to make such objections, or any other representations on the proposed highway works, is during the consideration of the relevant planning application. Once the application has been approved there will be often a legal obligation in place for the proposed highway works to be undertaken. They are required to be undertaken to ensure the development is mitigating its impacts and are led by the developer rather than the County Council. This being the case any correspondence regarding the need for the works should be directed to the relevant Planning Authority. Correspondence regarding the carrying out of works should be directed to the developer as they are their works. Should we receive any correspondence on either of these matters we will forward them to the appropriate organisation and inform the sender what we have done.